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.
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
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
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.