Food and workplace culture

Vim: I'm Vimla Appadoo
Tim: and I'm Tim Panton
Vim: and welcome to the distributed features podcast.
So this week's podcast is really interesting because it touches on a lot of topics that I'm quite passionate about mainly food and culture and when I was speaking to Veronica her whole career and businesses focused on how the relationship between food and workplace culture and how the way that we eat together can influence the way that we work together and I found it so super interesting not just because
I'm really passionate about food and I love eating but because I find that when I don't take a proper lunch break or take the time out of my day to kind of get away from my desk and talk to my colleagues in a way that's not just about projects. I get caught almost I hit a wall and I'm not able to overcome problems or think creatively or do anything like that.
So it's really [00:01:00] good to hear more about that.
Tim: Right. I mean I totally sympathize with that and I think it's you know, particularly for those of us who are working at home. It's kind of really important to find some point in the day to get out and lunch is the easy one to do so, you know.
Taking a stroll and even taking your sandwiches down to the park or something makes a huge difference to the way that you're thinking somehow it is like, you know that 20 minutes is amazingly refreshing.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: and it's much better. If you can kind of go for it going and be sociable with somebody that at that point, but even if you can't like just like the physical act of getting out and changing your location seems to make a lot of difference.
Vim: Yeah, and and her Focus was on how you can bring team environments not just into like when you're working in a team but in co-working spaces where your you might be on your own or if your working remotely so she even spoke about like having a [00:02:00] joint team lunch over Skype or video call and that kind of thing.
Tim: All right. Okay. I've night to be to be fair. I've never done that like eating eating video call seems like slightly like where would you put the camera
Vim: so true
Tim: I mean and you know, like, you know, some of you be having super no, I mean, I think it's I think that business about having a collective lunch is really interesting.
I've done a couple of jobs where where that was like there was a catered lunch. And I have to say I found the one where there was a canteen more, you know big organization with the canteen. I really like the food wasn't necessarily as good but I really like the kind of feel of it because you got to see little bits of the organization that you don't see like when you're hyper focused on your own project in your own team.
So I think the canteens great way of like kind of spreading who's knowing [00:03:00] who's doing. Whereas like, with a more with a smaller organization with a catered lunch like it's still the same people.
Vim: Yeah. Okay. I think her point was that food is often the thing that unites people together. So whether you like something or dislike something or just different your food often a result represent your personal culture and therefore as a business, it should represent your working culture and it can kind of bring people together in that way so companies that look after
employees by the giving a lunch break or having a day where you eat together. It doesn't even have to be lunch could be breakfast it could be something. Is really important and it also doesn't have to cost the Earth so it could be everyone brings in a dish or I don't know there are different ways of doing it.
Tim: Yeah. I mean, I think this is It's one of these things that actually was known has been known for a long time. Like if you look at the [00:04:00] Royal Navy for example of got a big thing about. You know the way that the officers eat together the way that the messes are organized and the food culture in warships.
It's like it's a huge issue. It's I mean, it's been a long kind of running. Running theme in the way that the Navy self-organizes is is around food and you know and I think it's too easy in the kind of tech world to think. Well, hey, you know all of that old stuff. We can't learn anything from it.
Whereas actually we really can.
Vim: Yeah, and I think. The way we think about the future of our work culture as well in more remote working more flexible working hours. It gets harder and harder to do that together like to find even 20 minutes in the day that your your break time or your cycle coincides or works with someone else.
Tim: Yeah, I mean, I think the only way that [00:05:00] that works is you start to have to set hard points like saying, you know, this is lunchtime and and defining that and I mean, you know, we used to when I was working in Manchester regularly, we'd have lunch. With people from other offices in the same building.
I mean, we actually we worked together on projects as well. So we knew each other but like you would arrange to meet in the lobby and go out and have sandwiches and whatever but it was kind of a conscious meeting in the lobby on our way out type thing.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: and I think. Logistics of organizing that isn't totally trivial but but it's well worth it if you can like pull it off.
Vim: Yeah and it think is important. It doesn't have to be every day. It's like it's something that can be once a week or once every two weeks. But that makes it easier to kind of make the time for
Tim: I kind of disagree in that I think things that are weekly in every other week or whatever. I they're so [00:06:00] easy to brush aside where and say 'oh can't do that this week' and then it sort of turns into a monthly thing and then I'll well not this month because I'm on holiday and like so it's sort of it fades into the distance where it's something.
That's absolutely like the assumption is it's every day and the fact that it doesn't happen is an exception.
Vim: Yeah
Tim: is like somehow those things survive longer if they work at all. I mean that's the other side just like that and it may just not work. But but I think yeah, so what kind of food do you mean do you like we talking sandwiches or what?
Vim: Yeah. Well, this is the other thing if like how you build and kind of healthy eating into it, so I don't know I'm speaking for. Self here. I know that when I'm working on my own or not eating with other people. I eat a lot and healthier. So I'll have a snack more and I'll make sure I'll have a chocolate bar with my lunch or whatever.
But soon as you kind of put me with someone else or [00:07:00] it's a scheduled lunch thing. So instantly being a bit more conscious of what I'm having. That type of thing so big a big part of Veronica's thing is that lunchtime in the workplace has kind of gone down this track of unhealthy eating. And how you bring that back to healthier happier stuff,
Tim: right?
That's interesting because I think I'm probably the other way around and that
Vim: oh, yeah,
Tim: like I'm more likely to kind of blow out on a like if we go out for a like a lunch then I'm more likely to have a pudding with it then like if I'm at home and just dragging some stuff out of the fridge and making myself you know soup whatever.
I think I'm probably probably better behaved. And then I am like out. Yeah. Yeah, I mean but I think think that also wonder about the you know, what is an acceptable lunch [00:08:00] lunch has got much lighter. It's than that it was historically I think
Vim: yeah,
Tim: you know when you when you look at that historically people who.
Who are doing hard physical work like they needed to fuel up halfway through the day. And you know and they did take significant amounts of food in at that point in the day. Whereas think a lot of us who are quite sedentary. Actually don't like really you need refueling it's more of a break that I sent to refill stop, you know,
Vim: yeah, definitely and then you have the afternoon slump if you do eat too much and then that has an adverse effect on productivity as well.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah, and I it's funny. I really noticed that when I'm working with with Americans because you're out of phase with them. Yeah, you know my afternoon slump come coincides with their first coffee the morning it totally and it takes a few seconds to [00:09:00] realize what's going on right way everyone's
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and you realize it like they just had their second espresso ever and you're sitting there digesting your you know, your Christmas cake or whatever and it's not different very different set of digestive process is going on. Yeah, I think that's it's still I still think it's hard to know how one could like.
Do that and really interested never really kind of looked into in depth, but really interested in in this kind of hot lunch food culture. Like how do you pull that off and we'll be on soup like that tends not to happen for me. But how do you do that in a. Outside a workplace canteen. How do you provide hot a hot lunch for you know for people what are the logistics of that?
Vim: We still we still put lunch companies to work for so everyone bring a dish [00:10:00] and it was often hot food and people just took it in turns to use microwave. So. You just microwave wanted one dish at a time put it out on the table and everyone would eat lunch together.
Tim: That's interesting. So so you think like having a microwave in the office and people bringing in things in boxes is actually works fine.
So they're not really thought of that as a way to do it. Cool, you know what's really cool and you have you ever seen a co-working space where there's a where a successful lunch culture is kicked off.
Vim: Yeah, so like with when I was working at Spaceport, we used to every Friday go out for lunch and it was an open call to everyone in the office that was there on the Friday to go out and it works really well and it's happened in every ever since people have moved away from that office to different jobs trip across the city.
We still try and do it. On a Friday
Tim: the same group of people.
Vim: Yeah.
Tim: Oh, that's cool. That's really interesting. It's going to it's going to its virtualized [00:11:00] itself.
Vim: Yeah, which is great. So I think you know it can it can work obviously like Fridays are known to be quiet in co-working spaces. So that made it a bit easier, but once it became a thing people then became incentivized to come in on a Friday or to join us or.
You know, there was no expectation that everyone would make it every Friday, but there was always a group of people that we're going
Tim: and how did you avoid that? Like, oh should we go here? Should we go there? I like this place kind of it wasn't that song is right. Even it?
Vim: Yeah. It was always the same place.
Tim: Okay
Vim: every Friday we going here that was it.
Tim: Right, right. Okay simple simple and was it always at the same time?
Vim: Yep, always at midday.
Tim: Yeah, you see that's it. You like you have to nail this stuff down otherwise and make it really simple and they're like no choices. Otherwise it.
Vim: Yeah
Tim: just gets so vague
It runs away with itself.
Vim: Exactly and if people wouldn't want to join later they could but they knew we were [00:12:00] going to be leaving a midday that was it.
Tim: right interesting.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: and that worked really well.
Vim: Yeah, it works really well, but I've not seen it happen anywhere else
Tim: and who it started that how did it get started.
Vim: It was actually one of the companies in the co-working space. Were doing it then they started to invite people along and then it became a thing,
Tim: okay.
Vim: Yeah,
Tim: so it's a question of just doing it and being like welcoming and it just like flies along interesting. That's fascinating. Yeah. I mean I.
The other in Berlin we are members of "The Factory" and that the food in "the factory" both the both the kitchen the restaurant and the factory Cafe a good and so there is a culture of like lunch dates where you you ping on the Slack say Hey, you know anyone free for lunch and and you'll get random people will will turn up and you'll sit at the table and chat [00:13:00] and that's much more informal, but I think I mean I.
Quite often I'll you know, even if I don't need to be there, I'll go there just because it's amusing to have lunch and hang out with random people so that but that tends to be less of a kind of coherent group of like always the same people. It's it's just like randomly whoever feels like agreeing to your to your lunch date.
Vim: Yeah. I think there's a really delicate balance as well because sometimes I need to use my lunch break to have time on my own. Unlike purposly fee to get out of the office and like wander around the city or whatever. It might be. So it's important to understand that individuals work as part of a team and that individual might not need or want that kind of working lunch.
Team lunch together so finding that balance is quite hard as well.
Tim: Right? I mean I totally agree with that and I think part of my sort of preference for the canteen ish type thing is [00:14:00] although it isn't like a long walk or like, you know, kind of real excercise it gets you out physically away from your desk.
Yeah, you know going down to like showing the case of the factory going down there is like, you know, it's four flights of Stairs across the core across the courtyard in our out the other side and whatever so you're kind of physically away from the computer there for the half an hour or 40 minutes or whatever
it is that it takes you had lunch and that I think that just that change of scene makes any difference.
Vim: Yeah, definitely definitely but we should hand over to Veronica. He specializes in s and hear what she has to say on food and culture great.
Tim: I'm looking forward to it.
Vim: today we have Veronica with us and Veronica does some amazing things with the relationship between food and culture, but I'll hand over to her to introduce herself.
Veronica: Hello, and I'm really excited to be talking with you today being [00:15:00] I'm actually with so, my name is Veronica Fossa, and I'm a workplace eating designer.
I'm also a writer and speaker the founder of We Factory which is the first workplace eating culture consultancy and my work has as the kind of title, which I sort of created for myself as says I'm specialized in food culture related to the work environment. So I'm looking at the rituals and the different concepts related to food within within the work environment.
Vim: Great. And what would you do? Well, how do you summarize that to kind of some of that has no idea what their relationship between food and culture is.
Veronica: Yeah, so basically when we look at at a workplace, there are different type of rituals to and Abbott that take place within within a company and within a culture which might be the coffee break or [00:16:00] lunch break or the after work kind of habbits which many companies have and In some cultures like I assume in the UK you have the pop culture and so companies people within a company.
My actually meet in front of pint of beer. And so this is one one specific like extra social context related to food where people come together. And so I'm looking at all these different kind of aspects and the connection with between food and culture is that there might be company there are companies where people tend to come together and where they tend to share a certain habits and there are other companies.
We're unfortunately people don't have the kind of culture and so they don't really come together to share a cup of coffee or they don't have lunch together just like spend time in front of their laptop. And that is the kind of problem that I'm trying to solve because according [00:17:00] to two stats there are around like 62 percent of workers.
Actually. That's a stat from the u.s. You spend. Their time their lunchtime meal their lunch break in for in front of their laptop.
Vim: Yeah. I mean I did that today. So I'm a case in point of that happening. What was it that led you to down this career path of like what really sparked your interest in that relationship?
Veronica: Well, I think it really started from work experience which I had already like when I was 17. So quite some time ago. It was my first it was a my course work experiences long ago. I was at that time and in turn in a company in Brighton comming from Italy, I arrived into that company and one of the first things that my boss has asked me to do was to make a cup of coffee and [00:18:00] and I remember it was.
It's something that really stuck with me for a long time. And so I went to this kitchen and I was looking for coffee and coming from Italy. The only only really kind of Brewing metal. I knew was actually to make coffee with a Moka pot or espesso. I went to go into that kitchen. I saw that it was a jar of instant coffee and I started to think like how do I make coffee and how much water should I use and how much coffee should I pour into into a mug and it was quite quite an adventure because eventually I kind of managed to to make a cup a decent cup of coffee, but that's sort of episode.
where actually my manager never really explained to me how. They want to Cuff me and remember it going back and forth between the kitchen and their desk and on. They didn't communicate with me how they want to get coffee. [00:19:00] And if and so in a way that kind of experience is a is a metaphor of a lack of communication and as well as of our culture that didn't integrate people that didn't welcome people into that that company and perhaps.
It wasn't they weren't really conscious or about that kind of. The Habit that was just like the beginning of us over number of episodes Within. My my career we're actually starting to think that food is such a such a thing that I joined makes us like come together. It's it's part of the human experience and all of us have food food memories and all of us.
We love food.
Vim: Yes.
Veronica: It was such an obvious thing that I understood that I really wanted to kind of build the connection between food and something that we usually tend to have. In our free time, [00:20:00] so we tend to spend time with our friends in a restaurant or we as as families. We gather together to celebrate something and I thought why don't we bring that that idea of conviviality inside the work environment where we actually spend one third of our life?
Vim: Yeah that makes total sense. And what's kind of the best example of where you've seen that working?
Veronica: They're quite quite a few examples. I would say a few years ago. I did a project in a Cooperative of kindergartens in the north of Italy was a network of 18 kindergaten and what did I do think that in that situation was to redesign the food experience.
I give this understood the food service that they were providing to the babies as 6 months 6 months old [00:21:00] babies to tree. Using food I managed to actually we managed to rethink their culture and to rethink their relationship. There is relationships that are involved with the food with the food service hand and so part of the project.
We're about 30 women. We're teacherís and janitors as well as cooks so we work together and we use food as a medium and and then as a lens to understand the type of habits and understand which kind of I hate to use the word users. But I mean, it's just like easier to say that yeah,
Vim: I've tied between that users people humans like
Veronica: some babies.
You try to map their taste is and the way that they would put in the way that they would enjoy the food as well as like make the service more pleasurable. [00:22:00] And so in that situation, we worked in two different layers one layer was like related to the service to the customers. So the babies then the other layer was actually related to the culture which.
Which was the culture of this network and this thing about them was that it wasn't only one school, but they were like 18 schools spread it all over the region as so we different kind of like sizes and different kind of service and as well as different kind of people and some schools had in house.
Vim: yes
Veronica: cooks with many years of experience and some other places had a catering which was delivering the food. So this is like an example of how you can use food both and you can improve the service to the end users as well as like for to improve the relationship between all of them. And the learning was also related [00:23:00] to the fact that in this project three different groups of workers came together.
So the janitors had a specific experience within that environment and the teachers were those who served. The food to the to the babies.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: and cooks who are those who are in the kitchen and were like creating the menus as well as cooking which kind of food are we going to serve today as well?
Like planning all the different types of celebrations and so they had to communicate with each other because the main problem was that sometimes well very often the babies didn't like the food. The reason why they didn't like it wasn't because I wasn't good.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: most wasn't served the right way.
So we had to make it pleasurable. For everyone involved.
Vim: Yeah, so it becomes an experience not just a kind of survival
Veronica: right. So this is an example and of course, I like many other examples and [00:24:00] writing a book where I'm collecting a number of case studies Global case studies in different parts of the planet. Which are actually employers which have created their own food concept or four months and I'm just collecting all these examples and put them pulling them into into a book to show that it's possible
Vim: amazing
Veronica: easy to do as well and that there is not one solution that fits them all
Vim: when first looking to be published.
Veronica: Yeah,
Vim: It is still a work in progress?
Veronica: Yeah, it's a work in progress. Like I've been working on it for quite some time and the goal would be to do a Kickstarter campaign crowd funding campaign in whatever to get to be able to get funds to publish it. I have already a number of interviews and they are really many interesting [00:25:00] case studies including example.
I've interviewed the global food strategist at AirB&B.
Vim: Wow,
Veronica: and as well as for example, I've been talking with a guy who is a business owner a business owner in New Zealand and it has a storage and moving company right and what it was that it created a breakfast club for. For his staff and so all the guys involved with the with a real with the moving and so we just got done every day and he figured out that basically those people don't get to know each other because obviously they are like they got to work and very and they don't get the chance to communicate with each other so I create breakfast club for them to get to know each other and to sit together every morning before going to work.
Vim: That's really really interesting because my next question was how do you think things have changed over the last? [00:26:00] Like 10 years or so and what do you think the future change will be
Veronica: that's a really interesting question. So one thing that has changed a lot the work environment in my opinion is related to technology and digitalization and that is where like we can do our work in. Being a remote being remote and be located in different parts of the planet. And so there are people within a company that don't get to know you don't get to see each other at all. and that of course, it's a little bit of a challenge and I see for example that food is a is a font wonderful word It's a Wonderful way for people to get together.
So it's not only like people working remote and being different in different in different countries, but as well that you might have like an office and people working from home or people like being with their [00:27:00] computer.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: with like just focus on our work and forgetting that we need to.
Built like face-to-face relationship.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: and so be like, this will be a big thing in the future. It's already quite big but we will get to the extreme point of it and you're example another thing that I've noticed happening a lot is like with the number of co-working spaces around the world.
They are like they are looking for. For people who can be Community managers. So those are like kind of building and facilitating their relationship between all different.
Vim: Yeah and and do you see like food and Technology playing an integral part in that.
Veronica: Yeah, I mean like it's interesting to notice that aspect as well though.
I think for example in thinking about the role of the community manager is kind of a tricky thing as well. It's not just some time. They [00:28:00] don't be carried right? Because of course you need to be a person who is also very empathic and understands. Like you can be a good fit or how you can as well like in introduce conversation or introduce people to each other and so like learning how to facilitate a conversation.
It's not it's not necessarily an easy thing.
Vim: Yeah, they're definitely I say that quite a lot when we're going out and speaking to people for research and the importance is of. Kind of building that relationship with someone in the first kind of five minutes of speaking to them to gain trust and really understand where they're coming from.
Veronica: Yeah, exactly. And then you have like for example, there are tons of networking events events are like promoted and they your networking kind of thing. But in most situations you go to a networking event, and if you go there by yourself, you just might end up to go home by yourself, you know, you don't you [00:29:00] don't manage to connect with people because.
They are also not very often not designed so that you can actually connect with the person so it's important as well that for event organizers to think about this and to think on how you can facilitate conversation and introduce people who don't know each other. So there is a lot of work to be done or button it will be like more people who will be trained and facilitators and who will have this kind of like human of sort of
Vim: and what advice would you give to people that are trying to design their culture or kind of break that mold?
Veronica: Well, the first thing I think about this a lot and I think many people are trying to find a kind of package sort of solution and I don't think there is there is one one like.
Only one solution that [00:30:00] my that may fit all and I will give you an example like in terms of food culture. So when I talk to people about what I do when they came out they come across my work very often people are like, yeah, so my company is not it's not Google, you know, so I can't really afford to have a resident Chef who's cooking food for my employees or we can't really afford to have canteen. We are too small.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: and I always tell them that you need to look at who you are and at your values at your mission, you don't need to copy cat just another example and and to make it to make it your own and. And for example in the different interviews that I've been doing so far.
There are some situations that are valid but they contradict each other and I'm happy about this because it shows that what works for one company might just not work for another company. For [00:31:00] example for like there is one case in a book in my book where they've asked the employer has asked the employees to contribute with a $2 get a light meal.
Vim: Oh, yeah,
Veronica: they decide to do it because people have ownership and they know that they paid don't like too little, you know, it's little thing. It's kind of a symbolic sum rather than like real money, but just because these people have contributed with. Dollars then they know that you know, if they don't show up, they are gonna lose money.
Yeah have like another example where the company has decided to provide meals for free.
Vim: Oh yep,
Veronica: it works that way and employees are really happy.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: so, you know, we're you like when you ask the first the first example that we tell you yes, there is ownership in this when we don't want to be like a company that gives away for free and you have an example where the [00:32:00] company gives away but it's just like framed in a different way.
Vim: Yeah, that's really interesting actually because you and you guess you don't really know which one's going to work until you start asking
Veronica: exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So I would say like the when you start thinking and designing your your culture, you need to reflect a lot about your values about where you want to go how it started and I've seen for example in terms of food culture that very often It Started from the founders because they had a certain lifestyle,
Vim: right?
Veronica: He wanted to share the kind of lifestyle or because they friend the company culture in that in a direction that reflected their own lifestyle.
Vim: Yeah, and I can't you see that happening by from a point of view of taking time out over lunch versus the kind of eating your desk aspect as well.
Veronica: Yeah. I think that taking time [00:33:00] for lunch is a way we feel
that actually we're thinking taking break in general is a good thing for you and and we should all learn to stand up from our desk and walk a little bit around there a numbers are like of apps which actually helps you. They help you take a break and then return to your work and so going out and get some fresh air like can be a five minutes.
It helps you a lot in terms of productivity as well as low as (clarity ?) and I think you know for lunch they are number of companies that have communal tables where people together they have like each and spacing break rooms and so on but I've also seen a opposite kind of reaction from people. So in general like it's perceived in very positive way and then you have people are many people have [00:34:00] told me that because of the open space kind of layout.
Vim: Yeah.
Veronica: They want to have a quiet time.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: In the lunch break and so that's interesting as well. Because shows that perhaps the design of the workspace in general needs to be changed because there is too much noise.
Vim: That's really interesting because I was saying that just this morning where actually like I've been used to working remotely and that kind of lends itself to being in quieter environments or.
working on your own when I've been thrown back into open plan offices or co-working spaces. I've been like, oh, I forgot what it's like to be around people and what that means for productivity or taking time for yourself or knowing knowing yourself well enough to figure out what works for you.
Veronica: Yeah, and I think that that's the thing what I don't want to I don't want to go inside a company and tell them like the solution for you is [00:35:00] lunch together because you need to look at the different like at the physical space at the type of ritual
that exists within that company for some companies like it works great too picnic once a week like, yes, you have outdoor picnic. You can be as some kind of pot luck where everyone brings something to eat from home or there can be no solution. But the fact that unfortunately many companies buy the package and so they have this old space where all offices designed in a certain way.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: and they don't really look very much in. Whether that works for eating together or for socializing the of course, like number of really great solutions for for people like to come together for coffee or to have like a [00:36:00] quiet space for. Cool so for meditations and so on but you need to look till you need to look at all the different types of activities that you want to facilitate what space and so if this place is too noisy, it's very difficult.
Vim: Yeah, that's really interesting is it's working backwards up like what do we need the space to give us and what do we need the tanks reduce or outcomes and then kind of figure out how you design it for that? Yeah, and you mentioned kind of productivity apps as well as a way of reminding ourselves to take that time or do whatever it is for us to be happy and healthy.
What do you think the impact of kind of the fast-food apps or like getting things delivered straight to your desk type of service has meant for work culture?
Veronica: So in terms of like eating together and [00:37:00] getting like goods delivered to your office. There are a number of like Solutions. That I keep seeing everyday the like popping up in every city and in a way most of them work that way you better put the deliver to your company people might sit together or might just be my just like sitting front of a laptop it's good and that's it.
I think in a way like the type of work that needs to be done within the work environment is to actually change the culture. So I don't think it's just enough to get a delivery. It might be like great quality food in might be healthier than then what people are regularly used yourself, but generally speaking.
I think you need to have a certain technology. That first may allow you to choose what you want. And so you can prevent like waste as much [00:38:00] as you can as well as like I've seen for instance in an canteen in where you put first choose the food and then you can rate the food as much as you like and you can kind of sort of have some sort of diet.
Program for you to select the canteen, like most people working to contain they can keep track of what you choose and number of solutions but to be honest at the moment. I haven't seen like anything that's looking at all these different aspects. Maybe they'd see such as I'm just not aware of.
Vim: Yeah.
Well, it's interesting. It's kind of a balance of if you get something delivered to your desk you then don't go out with the office and. You know, it might be really healthy but you'll stop yourself from getting the fresh air or that kind of stuff. So there's always the pros and cons to it.
Veronica: Yeah, definitely
Vim: and what do you what would what do you personally want for the future of kind of work-life balance culture eating?
Veronica: So for the future, I think I would like to see which is already is it happen already some kind of like. Going back to the basics getting rid of all the unnecessary apps and structures which at the moment. I feel quite overwhelmed, you know personally just the personal opinion that there are a number of programs a number of tools that allow you to be more productive or to work better with your team or.
To keep track of your help or to keep track of how many how many steps you do everyday or how many liters of water you drink and I tend to try a lot of them and it can be very overwhelming because at some point is there are too many choices.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: you know, what what was really like not only what works for you but.
So you need to choose because you have limited time and you can see all of them.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: the future. I'm really hoping to see more like not perhaps you will be kind of some sort of natural selection amongst all these different apps as well. I hope is that people will start looking at kind of going back to the basics and just appreciate what they have and also kind of find
finer balance in terms of work and life. I also hope that in terms of that would be better gender equality. It's a big topic as well. And I think we are moving towards nature of feminism many feminine values like empathy and vulnerability. We are Becoming like song topics and I hope they will be like [00:41:00] much much stronger in the future and that people will be.
Start talking about this more and more and my only be something related for example, the process of service design or experience design, but just like applied to many other fields.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: and in terms of more cultural, I hope that many more companies we've got some kind of basic thing but as a human experience that.
That is as important and as something else as like as work itself.
Vim: Yeah. Yeah make it more of an event. Not just something that happens as part of your day. Big blast of it
Veronica: and that's what I know where we are approaching Christmas and at the moment you see all the companies are doing Christmas parties.
We start companies. Why can't you do it in February you in January or more, you know, it's like the end of the year and everyone is doing a lot of different parties and it can't be [00:42:00] only one thing. I needs to be kind of a regular sort of thing so that people get used to scatter and we've been able to solve.
Any out of many more problems rather than do it once a year and come together and celebrate that would be you know, everyone is back to their desks and to their own jobs.
Vim: I can't agree more. It seems it always seems a shame. They only happens once a year and I'm just going back to kind of being a food designer.
What's the response been like from organizations and companies to that as a roll?
Veronica: Yeah, it's kind of like it's a new thing and as always like new things people have towards people who are like the early adoptors and those who are like get it as soon as you as you talk with them about it. And of course there are many companies who are like we don't need this we have other other problems at the moment for seems like [00:43:00] something that employers don't want to take care of or they think that they are only there to provide a place for people to work and sometimes they don't even care about providing a nice place for people to work.
Vim: Yeah,
Veronica: so I think it's a moment because the field of food design. It's also pretty new and around for 10 years and I've been seeing like bigger and bigger. Thanks to a few Master programs. So they are there more food designers around here so we can take some time. Until it will pick up as many people have excluded from the standard perhaps as a designer.
You can assign a product but it's still quite challenging to understand that you can design a culture.
Vim: Yeah

Veronica: service the end and because [00:44:00] it's an abstract concept as well people need to understand how to make. How that applies as a as a practical example.
Vim: Yeah. Absolutely. I totally get that.
It's kind of thing people like to speak about but don't know how to action.
Veronica: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And so that that's why I like with the book. I hope to to be able to provide cases that are some of them are globally known so they are quite not popular but many companies look at them as leading example same time to show that possible.
You know that you don't need a huge investment that you don't need to change office layout. That you don't need to have like one person dedicated person within company that does this, that sometimes initiative can even start within like from a from a one individual and then extends to. [00:45:00] A broader group.
Vim: Yeah
Veronica: that also that you don't need to be 90 like a multinational company. You can be just any company of any size.
Vim: Yeah, I think that's the important thing is it's not it's not just for the hipsters out there. This is something that should be important to everyone and anyone.

Veronica: Yeah, exactly and that goes back a little bit to the example that I was giving you earlier about.
About the chefs at Google for example. Yeah, it's not a company is to say well, you know, we don't have the budget to hire a chef. You don't need to have a hire Chef like you can create different kind of. Format that works for you probably can bring from home and you can eat together once a week to have breakfast.
There are number of like Solutions.
Vim: Yeah, and I've seen even teams work remotely having lunch over Skype together

Veronica: exactly.

Vim: Definitely doesn't have to [00:46:00] just be physical and it definitely doesn't have to cost the Earth. It's just doing what works for you as a team and making sure everyone's happy with it and the book sounds amazing and it'd be great to get the links over when when you've got them ready.
Veronica: Definitely.
Vim: please do and I hope that they were going to be some recipes on there, too.

Veronica: Yeah, I was thinking about this because you know, it's some sort of in my research I at some point I am I noticed that many companies. I have interviewed So Far Western World Tour and most of them from Anglo-Saxon culture and I think that it would be that I wanted to show A diversity of
views and house to Showcase companies from other parts of the world. Usually don't get the books and I have like they will be a company from Thailand indigenous by the company. [00:47:00] Because the we thing and Indigenous Community, they would be an example from Brazil as well. And I'm looking to interview more people like in January so that there is like a different different cultures and different ways.
And so I was thinking that would be interesting to have practical.
Vim: Yeah. Definitely. That sounds absolutely incredible. Is there anything else you'd like to say before we close?
Veronica: Hmm? No, I don't think.
Vim: So it's just so interesting to hear different perspectives and understandings of what makes a good culture and how all of the little things that we take for granted.
So making the time to sit the colleagues and understanding how you build relationships through the connections that we have to. The stuff that we that we do take for granted impacts all of that. It's great to hear your perspective on it.
Veronica: Yeah it was. I think you know talking about talking [00:48:00] about food.
It's about the food itself. And as you said as well about people around it and as well, like complete help company shape in a different direction and make people feel feel welcome. And and that's a bit like what I wish. That happens when I have the first episode I was talking about computers are first internship.
I think it would it would have shaped my career in a different direction. So perhaps I wouldn't I wouldn't have gone to do what I do now, but I would say would have made it more would have made me more confident. Because the feeling of we all we all want to feel accepted we all want to belong and and food is a wonderful way to do it.
Vim: It's a wonderful way to do it is a wonderful way of sharing what makes us different as well. So it would have been great. If in that example you had been given the freedom to [00:49:00] show them how you make coffee rather than being forced to do it in a way. You don't understand or even just had an open conversation about what that means in different cultures.
Veronica: Yeah,
Vim: it's just so interesting how it's it's almost intrinsic. It's kind of like every office I walk into any person. I have come in or speak to us that you want a cup of tea as a first thing that comes to mind and that's an instant connection that you try and share with someone.
Veronica: Yeah. Definitely.
I mean and the Lansing to a different culture into a different person. It would have made a totally different experience talking about coffees just like. After that experience I've been going around with with Moka pot
Vim: (laughs) ,
Veronica: so it can be an interesting like cultural exchange. I can make coffee for them and they can make coffee for me.
Vim: Yeah, we'll definitely I don't think you're the one missing out. I do not [00:50:00] blame you for not having instant coffee.
Veronica: There are some great ones nowadays. I would say. Yeah, but back then it was just a market kind of brand.
Vim: Yeah.
Veronica: No, it was nothing special. Yeah, your copy is not as change a lot and nowadays like there are some great coffee brands and labels also working with instant kind of instant coffee industry and but using specialty coffee beans. Yeah instant coffee can be great.
Vim: That is good to know. I'm an avid tea drinker, so it doesn't doesn't mean.
That's been really great.
Thank you so much for your time.
Veronica: Thank you.