Career Advice

Benefits Of Sweet Treats In The Workplace

Candy jars and bowls overflowed last week as leftover Halloween candy came to work.

Or maybe it will show up this week as the post jack-o-lantern purge sends extra mini Milk Duds and Butterfingers bars to beckon to bosses and co-workers alike.

Yet the candy jar – or something like it – may make sense year round, especially on a manager’s desk.

They give your crew an excuse to stop by your office. Then while they snag a Snickers, they may share some important or mildly interesting tidbit of information about your company or that can help you do your job better.  Or you could use the visit to check their progress on a crucial project – as long as you do it sweetly.

They can help you be seen as more approachable and friendly – and may be a good way to break the ice if you’re new to the department or organization. If your desk is a candyland you may be seen as “welcoming, giving” and a team player – though also as the “office chatterbox,” according to an AOL article last year on what your desk says about you.

Treat jars have other strategic purposes too, including those who use a single chocolate square as a reward for completing a task, maybe one they dislike.  They also can serve as a pick-me-up on those days when you’re feeling tired or blue.

I really appreciated the mints one of my former bosses kept on his desk. For a while when I was an editor, I offered a basket of fruit to my team as a “care and feeding of staff.” The fruit varied by season and much of it was purchased from a man in a fruit and vegetable truck.  I ended up eating about half of it myself, and of course, the fresh fruit had to be replenished every few days.

Another healthy alternative to the candy bowl would be a dried fruit medley, which could include blueberries for the antioxidants and mangos because they’re so marvelously yummy.  Roasted pumpkin seeds would be a seasonal treat and so are sunflower seeds – though not everyone will think they’re worth stopping for.

Sharon Greenspan, a holistic health practitioner and owner of Wild Success, thinks fresh fruits are excellent and especially recommends oranges or tangerines for the vitamin C to ward off colds and flu and “a healthy sugar boost, which can energize someone.” Bananas are beautiful for desk-top snacks, as are darker colored grapes, which can be unrefrigerated for several days. “They provide a quick boost loaded with antioxidants,” Greenspan said.

If you want a dried healthy snack, Greenspan favors dried goji berries, great for vitamin C and amino acids, or kale chips, to eat your leafy green veggies on company time.

No matter whether your candy jar is filled with Skittles, goji berries or dried Michigan cherries, remind your colleagues to tip the treats out from the bowl, not reach in and grab some.  That way, everyone will spread sweetness not germs around the office. And be clear that the treats are available for anyone – though those who finish their tasks early could be invited back for second helpings.