A Different Kind of Benefit in Chicago

A Different Kind of Benefit in Chicago

Break Room Benefits in Chicago

The division between a Chicago employee’s work life and the rest of their life has recently undergone a dramatic transformation. MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study found that the new gig economy and accompanying demographic changes have altered the workplace in such a way that employees have redefined workplace expectations. In fact, more than half (51%) of the employees surveyed said they were more interested in contract or freelance work than the traditional full-time salaried position.

But what does that mean to employers?

For Chicago employers, focus on retaining valued employees has jumped to the top of the list of important benefit objectives. According to Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits, at MetLife, “That line [between work and everything else] is now blurred with work and life overlapping more than ever before. As this happens, employees are looking to their employers to help them with their overall wellness needs, whether it’s through gym memberships to stay healthy or financial education programs to plan for their futures.” And those benefits are not going unnoticed by employees as 59% of employees surveyed agreed that health and wellness benefits contribute to employer loyalty.

In addition to formal programs that focus on the health and financial well-being of employees, there is an additional way to support your Chicago employees’ health and financial goals, and, at the same time, help improve employee retention—offer an office break room that includes a micro-market or pantry service. While several features of a micro-market and pantry are the same, there are a few key differences.

Break Room Benefits in Chicago


  • open concept “mini” store using open shelving, glass-front coolers, and self-checkout technology
  • offers employees the option to read nutrition labels and make educated decisions about what to eat or drink
  • highlights the opportunity to make healthy choices by offering fresh and nutritious sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks and beverages, fresh produce, and yogurt
  • includes a wide variety of choices which acknowledge that employees have distinct preferences and unique work schedules
  • gives employers the option of subsidizing some of the cost for their employees

Pantry Service

  • pantry space in your break room with open shelving, bright glass-front coolers, and displays full of food, snack and beverage options
  • includes a wide variety of choices which acknowledges that employees have distinct preferences and unique work schedules
  • often includes a selection of breakfast foods, fresh and nutritious sandwiches, wraps, salads, fresh produce, and yogurt as well as healthy and traditional snacks and beverages
  • employers cover the full cost of this benefit allowing employees to focus on other financial responsibilities

Have you considered the benefits of a micro-market or pantry in your office break room, or how it could positively impact employee retention? We can help you understand the differences and determine which program would best meet your Chicago employees’ needs. For more information about pantry service or micro-markets, contact Commercial Food Systems at 708.430.1500.

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