Food delivery increasingly used to meet remote employees’ emotional needs

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Deliveroo for Business (DfB), the corporate arm of Deliveroo, has revealed a growing trend among organisations in Singapore and Hong Kong turning to food delivery as they look for new ways to meet the emotional needs of employees working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since February, Deliveroo has seen an increase of 400% in the number of organisations across Singapore and Hong Kong joining DfB in a bid to help staff working from home to feel connected. This increase can be attributed to the growing number of employees in Singapore working from home since the Circuit Breaker period in April and May. 

Sales of virtual gift cards for employees have also grown more than 300% in Singapore and over 900% in Hong Kong since the start of COVID-19, allowing workers to enjoy an amazing selection of food from Deliveroo’s restaurant partners at home. With many Singaporeans still working from home during post-circuit breaker, demand for virtual gift cards is expected to grow steadily in the coming months.   

Another key trend observed is the rise of virtual gift cards used for remote meetings and webinars with customers and prospects. S$50 and HK$500 gift cards are most commonly gifted in Singapore and Hong Kong respectively, with companies moving from providing a shared catered lunch in the office to individual meal allowances for virtual team lunches.

Leading organisations have been using DfB to provide employee rewards or perks, along with meals for virtual meetings and working from home team meals. 

“We are constantly looking for innovative ways to reward and motivate our people, and this is especially relevant today given the vital role that our front-liners play in the fight against COVID-19. The Deliveroo e-gift cards are a contactless substitute for traditional team lunches, which allows us to recognise our people’s efforts and raise team morale while keeping them safe,” said Ms Chua Sing Ling, Vice President, Head of Human Resources, Singapore Market, Certis.

Major pharmaceutical and technology corporations in Singapore have been the leading adopters of DfB, while large companies in the insurance and law sectors set the trend in Hong Kong. Other trends observed include:

  • Larger organisations with over 1,000 employees tend to purchase virtual gift cards by department as opposed to all business units simultaneously.   
  • While corporate businesses in Hong Kong are five times more likely to purchase virtual gift cards than those in Singapore, the majority of Hong Kong employees are limited to using their food perks when working from the office. 
  • Companies in Singapore are three times more likely to cater to flexible work arrangements than organisations in Hong Kong by unlocking locations for food orders, allowing employees the choice to order great quality food from the office and home, and beyond the traditional lunch period for when they work longer hours.
  • Across both markets, Friday lunches continue to be the most popular virtual meeting point of the week as companies host weekly lunch sessions to stay connected with employees while teams work remotely. 
  • Tastes remain the same as before the pandemic, with burgers, pizzas and noodles topping the list for most-ordered virtual lunch choices, and bubble tea as the popular choice for a midday tea break.

Karl Bachian, Head of Deliveroo for Business, Hong Kong and Singapore, said, “The past few months have been very challenging for employers and employees alike. Working from home definitely has its benefits, though it becomes increasingly difficult to find a balance between working and personal time.

“This is why more companies are choosing to reward their staff for all their hard work and to keep them engaged away from the workplace. Even with social distancing, we’ve seen that food continues to bring people together and allow them to share fun experiences virtually with their friends and colleagues.”