Hosting a Lunch and Learn? Try these 140 topic ideas

Workplace lunch and learn programs are a prime example of killing multiple birds with one stone. Done right, they give employees a break from their desks, bring the team closer together, and create informal opportunities for education, training, and professional development – all while people munch their lunch.

So, whether they’re conducted in-person or online, these lunchtime sessions can be a mighty boon for business. The only downside? Finding new topics to cover each time! To help, we’ve put together a long list of 140 subject ideas to use in your upcoming lunch and learns. Let’s dive in…

What do you talk about at lunch and learn? 140 topic ideas

To make this article easier to navigate, we’ve split it into sections. They range from topics on business to miscellaneous subject matters, but they should all help to provide stimulating lunch and learn sessions that your employees appreciate.

Business/work-related topics

From managing risks to improving communication, the list of work-related topics to talk about at lunch is nearly endless. Here are 20 ideas to get the ball rolling:

1. Managing and motivating yourself and others

2. How to create and deliver effective presentations 

3. Team-building basics (including games and activities)

4. Work email etiquette and best practices

5. New software tools (insights and demonstrations)

6. How to stay organized in the workplace

7. Expert insights on effective negotiation (workshop)

8. Task delegation tips and best practices

9. Independent work and the dangers of micromanagement

10. How to be an effective leader

11. E-commerce in the future

12. The growing role of AI in business teams

13. The role of data and analytics in decision-making

14. Building better workplace boundaries

15. Diversity and inclusion in the office

16. Branding, marketing, and advertising

17. How to manage and reduce business risks

18. Globalisation and its impact on business

19. The changing tides of supply chain management

20. Strategies for cultivating innovation, creativity, and growth

Staff well-being topics

Employee well-being is a hot topic that has a slew of subcategories you could cover. Here are 20 related ideas to discuss as a team:

21. The role and importance of self-care

22. Stress management techniques

23. How to strike a good work-life balance

24. Mental health and emotional well-being in the office

25. Best apps for improving your health

26. Effective desk exercise ideas

27. How to address and prevent workplace bullying

28. Whistleblowing best practices

29. Self-care ideas at home and in the office

30. The importance of open communication at work

31. Introduction to mindful meditation

32. How to balance ambition with boundaries

33. Handling change effectively as a team

34. The importance of diet and how to eat well at work

35. Company culture and employee well-being

36. The impact of poor sleep and how to improve it 

37. How to identify and quit unhealthy habits

38. Ways to avoid burnout

39. Supporting co-workers with mental health issues

40. The role of empathy and compassion at work

Career-development topics

What can your employees do to get ahead? What steps can they take, and what skills can they cultivate to drive their career forward? This section contains 20 topics that address related lines of inquiry:

41. Networking do’s and don’ts

42. How to give and receive feedback

43. Public speaking masterclass

44. Why embracing failure is key to success

45. The vital role of rejection in work and life

46. How to listen

47. Personal branding and its modern importance

48. The fundamentals of coding

49. LinkedIn best practices

50. Leveraging social media for career development

51. Side hustle ideas

52. Goal setting and tips for achieving them

53. Building self-confidence and self-compassion

54. How to recognize and realize your ambitions

55. Growth mindset insights

56. The different types of unconscious biases that can hold you back

57. Making a good first impression

58. Qualities of an effective team

59. How, when, and why to ask for help

60. Creating a schedule for each day, week, and/or month

Topics pertaining to time-saving

Efficiency is central to business success. These 20 lunch and learn topic suggestions focus on how to improve it: 

61. How to minimize distractions and stay engaged

62. Best software tools for time-saving

63. How to stop procrastinating (and why you might be doing it)

64. How to manage your schedule

65. Remote work productivity hacks

66. Tips for managing and meeting deadlines

67. Know when you need to take time off

68. The role of self-discipline in effective time management

69. How to track progress and measure success

70. Efficiency in remote teams

71. How to boost productivity with no additional effort

72. The importance of saying “no” to improve efficiency

73. Common time-wasters and how to eliminate them

74. Pros and cons of technology for effective time-management

75. Email/inbox best practices for reducing overload

76. Introduction to the Pomodoro Technique

77. Lessons on how and what to prioritize

78. Cultivating flow in the workplace

79. Staying positive while being productive

80. How to manage interruptions and unexpected new tasks

Technology related topics

The world of technology’s changing so rapidly and becoming such a pivotal part of business success that there’s plenty of potential ground to cover in your upcoming lunch and learns. Here are 20 tech-related topics to consider:

81. How to avoid Zoom fatigue in remote teams

82. Staying cyber-safe a work and home (cybersecurity workshop)

83. Introduction to the internet of things and how it’ll shape the industry

84. 5G and its future implications

85. How big data shapes business decisions

86. The potential role of virtual and augmented reality in the workplace

87. How will automation impact jobs?

88. Digital marketing software and strategies

89. How to leverage technology for improved collaboration

90. Best tools for virtual communication

91. Untapped capabilities of [insert chosen software tool here]

92. GDPR: what is it, and why should we care?

93. Technological troubleshooting

94. Password best practices in the workplace

95. User experience design and implementation

96. Data mining and analytics

97. The qualities of a high-performing website 

98. Mobile app development and design

99. What is blockchain technology, and why does it matter?

100. Cloud computing: pros, cons, and applications

Miscellaneous topics

The best lunch and learn topics don’t always fit into neat little boxes! In this final section, we’re going through 20 miscellaneous ideas that should all lead to an effective team lunch.

101. Life-changing events and favorite memories 

102. Ice-breaker questions for networking events

103. Meal ideas for busy professionals

104. How to balance parenting and work commitments

105. Cultivating strong relationships with colleagues

106. Tricks to effective conflict resolution

107. Tips and ideas for becoming a greener company

108. An introduction to visualization

109. Identifying, addressing, and communicating your triggers

110. Learn to knit

111. An introduction to gardening: benefits and best practices 

112. Home office organization advice

113. Packing tips for your next big vacation

114. Hobbies: why you need them and how to find one

115. Easy ways to entertain your kids after work

116. How to dress to impress

117. Brainstorming effective team-building activities

118. Guided group meditation (workshop)

119. Effective ways to stimulate your right (creative) brain

120. Pro tips on how to read someone’s body language

Lunch and learn activity ideas

Tired of talking? Consider mixing things up at your next lunch and learn by running a fun activity instead. Here are 20 ideas to try:

121. Cocktail making masterclass

122. Improv games for boosting collaboration

123. Board game extravaganza

124. Virtual or in-person field trip to a historic location

125. Design your own work t-shirts

126. Book club (an ongoing lunch and learn activity to do every month)

127. How to feng shui your office space

128. Group origami workshop

129. Flower arranging and bouquet making

130. Mindful eating (led by a professional mindfulness practitioner)

131. Comedy workshop (learn how to write your own jokes)

132. Pancake making 101

133. Paper plane-making competition

134. Test your music knowledge (music quiz)

135. Pub quiz for work teams

136. Learn how to knit

137. Beginner cooking class

138. How to preserve your own food

139. Self-defense strategies (workshop led by martial arts instructor)

140. Scented candle-making masterclass

How do you make lunch and learn fun?

Similar to work meetings, it’s easy for lunch and learn sessions to become a bore. Here’s a selection of tried and tested ways to keep them interesting:

1. Try designing and sending invitations

Most employers advertise upcoming lunch and learn sessions via email. However, we recommend you take a different tack.

Rather than sending a generic message to the team (that may or may not be seen), try designing and distributing actual invitations. This will attract more attention to the session, generate more buzz, and turn it into a bigger event – i.e. something worth attending! The end result should be better attendance rates.

Top tip: If printing invitations seems like too much trouble, another option is to create a poster and put it somewhere public, like the staff kitchen. And, of course, for remote teams, you can send digital invites on Slack (or your chosen communication tool) instead.

2. Invite keynote speakers

Another popular way to spice up your lunch and learn programs is to periodically invite/pay guest speakers to lead the session. They could be someone senior in the company (with whom the team doesn’t have much interaction normally) or someone external. Either way, the result is the same:

They provide fresh perspectives and inspiring stories that help engage and entertain your employees. From people who have done incredible things in the industry to professional motivational speakers, they’re sure to get the team’s attention.

We also like this idea because it works as well for virtual teams as it does for traditional ones. It might be cheaper too! After all, the guest speaker can deliver their talk from home, via Zoom, rather than coming into the office.

3. Discuss/do something different

Too many employers make the mistake of devoting these sessions exclusively to work-related topics. As our final set of suggestions above shows, though, many of the best ideas for lunch and learn programs are activities that have nothing to do with business!

Keep that in mind when establishing your lunch and learn program; mix in some fun and games to create a combination of work and play. Ultimately, the goal is always the same: for employees to walk away from the session having gained something. While that may involve honing their professional skills, a light-hearted break from their usual routine can be just as valuable.

4. Peer-led sessions

Another way to make lunch and learns fun for everyone is to leverage the skills and expertise within the team. In other words, get your employees to run the sessions! 

What work and non-work-related skills do people possess? What subjects are they knowledgeable about? And, more importantly, are they willing and able to share those insights with their colleagues? You never know, you might have a fantastic source of lunch and learn topics at your fingertips.

Better still, these peer-led sessions have a valuable team-building element. Co-workers have a chance to sit down and learn about each other’s passions, finding common interests that promote bonding in the process. Of course, it also provides valuable practice in public speaking, running presentations, and leading workshops.

Why are lunch and learns beneficial?

We’ve seen what you can cover in lunch and learn programs and how to make them engaging. Now let’s address why they’re worth doing in the first place. Here are 3 key benefits of hosting lunch and learn sessions:

1. They facilitate team-building

Lunch and learns help create more cohesive teams. They provide an opportunity for co-workers to meet face-to-face for a change! Colleagues become more familiar with each other as a result, which creates a sense of connection that’s a major boon for morale, productivity, and the company culture.

As you can imagine, this can make a huge difference for remote employees, who may spend most of their time working alone. Although their lunch and learns are done virtually, it’s still a chance to step away from work and interact with others.

2. They’re efficient

Everyone knows that staff training and professional development are important. But who’s got the time? Unless you’re a big business, employers need their workers on the ground, in the trenches, performing their primary roles. Fitting paid workshops and training into the schedule can seem impossible.

Unless that is, you take advantage of those lunch breaks! Utilizing that hour in the middle of the day to listen to a presentation or do an activity together allows you to support each team member’s personal development without interrupting their day-to-day workflow. The only catch?

Your lunch and learns have to be worth attending. If they aren’t fun or useful, the team will likely feel as if their break has been taken away for no reason.

3. They provide networking opportunities

Lunch and learn programs don’t just enable employees to hang out with each other. They also provide opportunities to meet and engage with whoever runs the session.

In essence, it becomes a networking tool. The team can interact with the guest speakers, workshop leaders, or senior executives you may have invited in. They get to ask questions, leverage the person’s expertise, and use it to their professional advantage. For lower-level employees, opportunities of this nature could otherwise be few and far between.

Try these lunch and learn topics this year

Lunch and learn events offer a bunch of benefits to employers and employees alike. An efficient use of time, they provide fun and informative training opportunities without detracting from peoples’ to-do lists. 

Before you can avail of these incentives, though, you have to find relevant and/or engaging topics to cover! We hope the topic suggestions above will help in that regard. Bookmark this blog post, and you should always have something suitable to talk about with the team.

Do you have a company offsite coming up where you’re thinking of hosting some lunch and learn sessions? Surf Office is here to help. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses organize the perfect offsite experience and would love to do the same for you. Click here to get in touch and get the ball rolling.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
budget retreat spreadsheet

Retreat Budget Spreadsheet

Are you organising a company retreat and want to make sure you have all the costs under the control?

Get a copy of our free Budget Calculator spreadsheet.

Get a copy

Interviews with more “newly-remote” companies:

CPJ’s journey into remote work

CPJ’s journey into remote work

During these times, many companies are switching to remote work. You may have heard that large companies, like Twitter, Shopify, and Slack are doing so, but we’re also seeing this shift with smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies as well. Perhaps this transition was already in the pipeline, or maybe COVID-19 was the catalyst. Either…

From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

Around mid-August of this year Real.Digital announced that they will be operating as a remote first company from now on.They might not be affected by the COVID-19 in economic terms, but the decision to shift their work practices was still a significant one. Fortunately, they’re viewing it as a great opportunity to open up their talent pool to people from all over the world!

How a proptech startup REalyse switched from a London office to remote work

How a proptech startup REalyse switched from a London office to remote work

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that large companies like Twitter, Shopify and Slack are “going remote”. And recently, we’re hearing more and more stories about smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies doing the same. What were their motivations? What challenges do they face during this transition? How do they see their future? We…

Skift’s Insights and Experiences About Switching to Remote Work

Skift’s Insights and Experiences About Switching to Remote Work

During these times, many companies are switching to remote work. You may have heard that large companies, like Twitter, Shopify, and Slack are doing so, but we’re also seeing this shift with smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies as well. Perhaps this transition was already in the pipeline, or maybe COVID-19 was the catalyst. Either…


How to plan your first company retreat

Get for free

With knowledge collected from:

free course partners logos

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

450+ retreats organized ● 8 years of experience ● 110+ retreat locations
Get a quote