Updated: Apr 20
I must confess that I’ve had a love affair with the doughnut for as long as I can remember. As a child they were a special treat, and I became particularly fond of the jelly filled variety. In college they single handedly were the cause of my finally learning to stomach the taste of coffee. There’s not a better taste than coffee after a doughnut has been dunked in it prior to being consumed.
Having been in business most of my life, there’s nary been a morning sales meeting I attended where a plate of these delicacies didn’t grace the buffet table.
A country club I belonged to years ago, would have dozens of doughnuts delivered from a local bakery on Saturday and Sunday mornings so golfers could fortify themselves prior to tackling the links.
My dear, late, golfing buddy John would make selecting and enjoying his doughnut(s) a ritual before we got to the first tee. He was even known to squirrel a few extra ones away in his golf bag before heading off on his round. He’d break one out after the third or fourth hole and occasionally have one before tackling the back nine!
While I’ll never know for sure, I think he established this practice after heading to the Grille room one day to grab a doughnut after finishing the first nine holes, only to find that the cache of doughnuts delivered earlier that day had been entirely consumed by the other members.
To this day, whenever I eat a doughnut, it brings a smile to my face as I think of my friend and long-time golfing buddy.
With all this by way of background, perhaps you’ll understand why the essay in the Wall Street Journal on April 15, 2022, by Jason Gay, aka The Office Doughnut caught my eye. In addition to doughnuts being the solution to the bringing staffing levels back to normal in the workplace, perhaps they can also bring world peace. Enjoy!
There’s Only One Way to Get Workers Back to the Office.
Doughnuts. And More Doughnuts.
Wellness, schmellness…let’s promote the joy of glazed carbohydrates in the break room
The Office Doughnut
Oh yeah, it’s me. A delicious office doughnut. How’s it going? Haven’t seen you around. It’s been a while. You’re thinking about coming into the office, full time. You’ve been back, here and there, but that place is still pretty much a ghost town.
The boss keeps sending emails about return-to-work—what the company needs, what the company wants, what the company is hoping for from its employees.
They want everyone back in the building. They’re offering all kinds of enticements. They say you can stay at home a couple of days a week. They’re trying to be flexible with vacations and personal leave, and there’s even a “quality of life” package that says you can go surfing once a year, for any reason.
It’s a pretty good offer. The boss isn’t being bossy about it. They’re just a little lonely in the office. They miss you.
The problem is, you’ve gotten used to working at home. You’re accustomed to remote meetings, Zoom calls in your Yoda pajamas, and the flexibility of breakfast and lunch in your home kitchen—which I am just going to guess isn’t loaded with scrumptious, sugary, 300-calorie office doughnuts.
Work should be making an offer you cannot refuse. They need to promote the one experience you cannot replicate at home.
You’ve actually been eating better. The other day, you made yourself a smoothie with almond butter, coconut milk, protein and strawberries. Yuck. It’s a disgrace.
On behalf of all doughnuts, let me say: I think management has it all wrong. They’re focusing on all the wrong things. Teamwork. Wellness. All this mumbo-jumbo about “reimagining the modern workplace.” Some of them are even offering modest raises to get your buns back in a swiveling chair. It’s not effective.
Work should be making an offer you cannot refuse. They need to promote the one experience you cannot replicate at home. Office doughnuts.
Of course, you can eat doughnuts at home. Of course, you could hop in the car and buy a dozen for yourself right now. But we both know it’s not the same thing as an office doughnut. An office doughnut is both a snack and a surprise. It is there when you walk into the break room in the morning, staring out from a box—Hey!!!!—with a bunch of its friends.
Maybe it’s glazed. Maybe it’s powdered. Maybe it has tiny rainbow sprinkles and tastes like a Halloween pumpkin. The point is that it’s delicious. And it’s free. You say to yourself: I really shouldn’t. But you do. You say: I’m just going to cut off a tiny bit. But then you wolf down the whole thing.
And it’s the best minute of your workday. (Followed by the worst minute of your workday: Why did I eat that doughnut? I’m never eating an office doughnut again.)
Once in a while, somebody in the office—a triathlete, usually—tries to put a halt to the doughnuts. Management launches a campaign to promote healthy eating. They install a juicer that nobody uses after the third day. Banning doughnuts from the office is like banning complaining. It’s against the grain of everything work is supposed to be.
A true office worker is a bit of a doughnut hunter. You know when the doughnuts tend to arrive, who brings them and from where. You know just the right time to show up to have a choice. You know exactly when they go stale (never). The office doughnut is prey.
But even that last office doughnut is delicious. The sad doughnut, the one with grape filling that nobody wanted or that maybe got sneezed on. You’ll eat that doughnut, too. Because you’re a team player.
So, let’s get real about the return to the office. Work from home is mostly delightful. You avoid the commute, traffic, and all those in-person meetings which never made any sense. It’s made you happy. But not as happy as an office doughnut. See you Monday morning. I’ll bring some pals.