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Feeding the workers

Sep 12, 2013
Raymond Dobbe from World Moving & Storage in New Zealand, recently spotted an interesting problem with his workforce and developed an equally innovative solution.

He discovered that his packers were often coming to work without having eaten properly.  It wasn’t that they didn’t eat but that they ate the wrong foods which were expensive and failed to give them the nutrients they needed to put in a full day’s work.


“They spent far too much money that they could not afford on the wrong foods ($20 a day easy),” said Raymond. “Their productivity was low, they used all their sick days each year (plus holidays for sick days), they were often late for work and they were not happy within themselves.”


Raymond explained that their diet consisted of fatty and sugary foods that were inappropriate to their energy needs during the day.  “They were coming to work (often late) eating potato chips and Coke or an energy drink – lucky if they had a low grade pie too. They would then leave the yard at 8:00am and stop off at a lunch bar, then the guys not driving would sleep in the truck on the way to the job.  By 11am they were hungry again and would leave a job for more greasy food and sugary drinks.  By 2pm they were low on energy, productivity was decreasing, and they might even leave the job again to buy more food.”


So, the solution: feed them at work.  Raymond explained that all his men are provided with two hot meals a week and three days of cereal and toast (or four if they work on Saturday).  “They just pay $2 per day, the rest we top up,” explained Raymond, “which, with frugal Supermarket purchasing, is not much actually. But the rewards to the business far outweigh the cost.” 


So Raymond’s crews now get to work up to an hour before start time to help cook, prepare or set up the day. “They are saving a huge amount of money and are doing far better at home.  Productivity is way up because they have good food in them and they stay on the job longer. Customers are far happier with the effort our guys put in and their positive attitude – so they get more tips. The culture within our business has become a lot more positive. Their outlook on life is far more upbeat and are proud to be acting like professionals.”


Raymond said that everyone wins and, despite the cost of the food and the employment of a cook to come in for two hours five days a week, it’s still a good investment.  “It is worth it to see everyone succeed.”


The initiative has also had another benefit to the company. The local media in New Zealand has really caught onto the idea particularly as there has also been  government initiative to start funding breakfast in schools.  Raymond has been interviewed on New Zealand’s highest rated radio station and the company has been covered on Campbell Live on Friday 2nd August.  Campbell Live is New Zealand’s highest ranking prime time television current affairs show broadcast at 7pm each night.  You can watch the whole 4 min piece on


The business community has also taken notice of the work Raymond is doing.  World Moving & Storage has been recognised in the last two Auckland Business awards as the ‘Employer of Choice’ and has also been instrumental in developing a NZCA National Certificate for the New Zealand removals industry.

 Photo: Breakfast TV - Pictures from the four minute Campbell Live film.

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