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How ICF Olson Boosts Employee Well-Being Through Food

ICF Olson is a full-service customer experience agency, leading the way in marketing, advertising, and branding for companies such as Boston Pizza, WestJet, and Canadian Red Cross. With the mantra, “we think like people”, ICF Olson creates experiences that engage people holistically with brands by getting into the heads of their customers’ customers. They also think from their employees’ perspectives, tailoring each office experience to the work they do. A cornerstone of this development was discovering a food program their team would love—which, according to ICF Olson’s Office Manager Poonam Unia, was not an easy feat.

ICF Olson

Food as a Defining Piece of Office Culture

Scooters, karaoke nights, ping pong tables, and foosball are among the several perks at the ICF Olson office. They proudly boast amazing office culture, but there was a key piece of the puzzle missing—a well-rounded, exciting food program for their team. Putting employees first was a priority for Poonam, so bringing in a well-balanced, varietal food program was top of mind (something that aligned perfectly with Platterz). Making offices more human for thousands of companies, Platterz created a food plan customized for ICF Olson’s employees. Weekly Friday lunches lay the foundation for a meal program that would continue to enhance their employee experience and office culture for years to come.

Platterz Custom Food Program

“It’s been nothing but amazing. The online platform is so easy to use.”

Looking Forward to Delicious at Work

Feeding their entire Toronto office every Friday since 2016, weekly lunches have become an institution at ICF Olson. “They didn’t like the food [we had] before, and now they actually look forward to [Fridays],” Poonam says. “It’s been nothing but amazing. The online platform is so easy to use.” ICF Olson currently uses Platterz for their weekly lunches, meetings, and all office birthdays. “Any opportunity I can use [Platterz], I do, and I recommend it to anyone that I can,” Poonam explains.

ICF Olson Team Lunches

“We have dietary restrictions as well, which are very easy to account for on the platform.”

Simplifying office catering is at the heart of Platterz’ solutions. ICF Olson takes advantage of many of the intuitive features at the core of the Platterz platform, including the Meal Builder, SpendTracker and dietary-accommodating technologies. “We can try all [of] these different restaurants. We have dietary restrictions as well, which are very easy to account for on the platform,” explains Poonam. “Platterz helps our accounting department too. [Accounting] can easily track and look everything up online.”

Team Lunches

“Everyone’s happier. They look forward to [the food].”

Coming Together Over Shared Meals

When coworkers share meals amongst one another, it’s more than just enjoying something delicious and stepping away from their desks. Taking the time to socialize, communicate, and come together is the essence of an employee experience. For ICF Olson, such experiences happen all the time. “Everyone’s happier. They look forward to [the food]. One [employee] usually works from home on Fridays, and she specifically comes in for lunch,” says Poonam. “We used to have [the lunchroom] set up with separate tables. We now set up the tables so everyone can eat together.”

Team Lunch

Bring the team together over a shared meal at your office, and continue to improve the employee experience. Start by crafting a custom food program for your office with today.

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How To Use Graphic Design To Improve Office Culture

When it comes to improving office culture, we all know the big guns – a great meal plan, fun team outings, smart office décor, and cool perks. But what about the small, day-to-day ways to create a sense of belonging among your team?

Cue the graphic designers: those creative beings who are known for pointing out bad font usage, yelling at you for using a pixelated image, and being extremely particular about the type of pen they use. Their super power lies in the fact that they can create work of any scale that can delight, inform, motivate, inspire, and teach. From a tiny sticker to a huge poster, graphic design has the power to bring people together, foster a sense of belonging, and help boost office culture. Check out our favourite office design ‘perks’ your team will love:

Desktop Wallpaper

Desktop wallpaper

Those stunning MAC desktop backgrounds are hard to beat, but what about designing equally beautiful wallpapers using inspiring imagery that represents your brand’s core values? You can also incorporate your brand’s fonts by adding inspirational quotes, reminders to stretch, take breaks, or move toward your team’s (or company’s) next milestone. Keep your eyes on the prize, literally.

Office Signs

Desk sign

Branding plays a big role in a company’s culture, so why not apply it to signs around the office and bring a sense of humour to everyday situations? Some people need to really focus when they are working, particularly in modern, open-concept offices. Designing a fun desk sign your coworkers can put up next to their computers when they need to be ‘in the zone’ is a great place to start. Use cute graphics to add humour, and apply the same approach to reminder signs around the office (we’re all guilty of leaving dishes in the sink!), or even create clever name tags for your boardrooms.

Cute Stickers

Laptop Stickers

Let’s admit it, stickers are awesome! Everybody loves them when they’re beautiful, relevant, and funny. They’re an easy, budget-friendly way to let everyone feel like they’re part of the team and proudly flash the squad stamp. Stickers have a ton of versatility in terms of materials, shapes and sizes. Whether they’re just your company’s brilliant logo, slogan, in-house lingo, or inside joke, these labels can live happily on laptops, water bottles, phone cases, or stationery. Stick with this idea, we promise the team will love them!

Wall Posters

Wallposters in office

Wall décor can really enhance a room and impact how people feel in an office space. Motivate and inspire your team by designing a series of posters based on quotes that resonate with your company’s values. You can even get your team to submit ideas, or interview your leaders for some words of wisdom. Your team will have a visual reminder of why they love working there and what they aim to achieve. Unity in emotional and mental states is a powerful thing that strengthens teams. Bonus: add a pop of colour and a modern feel through a marriage of bold type and colour blocks.

Notecards

Custom branded notecards

Handwriting is one of the most personal ways of communicating. To encourage people to take a much needed break from all things digital, design your own in-house branded notecards. On the front, you can keep it simple and use your company’s logo, or imagery relevant to your brand. Leave the back blank for personal messages to thank a teammate, give compliments for a job well done, or to simply say hi to someone working on a different floor (extra humour points: include a return address with the floor you’re on). Not to mention these notecards can also be used for external communication with clients!

Swag

Canvas bag with company logo an slogan

Surprise your team with branded swag they can use in their day to day life in and outside of the office. Think: reusable water bottles, tote bags, gym bags, apparel and stationery. A graphic designer will know just the right amount of branding these various items need in order to remain stylish, so your team will love wearing them and showing them off. Swag will not only make your team feel appreciated and celebrated, but will contribute to great office culture. It’s always a good idea to include the team in the design process of these items and get their feedback to make sure they align with everyone’s style.

Feeling inspired? Chat with your design team and find out what ideas they might have to help boost your office culture! Truth be told, these small ways really do help create the bigger picture of a great company culture. Think of each piece of branded office design as if they were words, combining to form a language. This shared ‘language’ is what ultimately bonds a team and turns it into an unstoppable, motivated, and genuinely connected powerhouse!

If you haven’t yet, take a look at our tips on desk décor for more inspiration on how to use design, colour and techniques to make your day as productive as can be.

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