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How to be Vegan at Work

Dear Veganuary, my work mates don’t get veganism. How can I get them on side?

vegan-at-work
Image Credit: Unsplash

This is a situation many new vegans find themselves in, but being vegan at work needn’t be about defending your decision not to eat animal products. Instead, make it about sharing the fun you have with food.

Here are our top tips on navigating this subject in the workplace.

1. Be open to questions

Although some colleagues may be cynical about veganism, you’ll probably find more people who are genuinely interested and have lots of questions.

Being approachable, patient and open to people’s questions is a great way to show your colleagues that veganism is completely normal and that you haven’t transformed into the stereotypical judgemental, preachy vegan.

You’ll almost certainly encounter tiresome questions about protein, vitamin B12 and what vegans would eat if stranded on a desert island, but the key is to be the bigger person and learn to laugh it off. Here are our answers to the most common vegan myths to help you in this area.

2. Ask for what you need

Whatever your dietary requirements, you deserve to feel included in your place of work. If you’d like to see plant-based milk in the communal kitchen and vegan catering options at work events, don’t be afraid to ask for them.

Most workplaces are more than happy to accommodate the dietary requirements of their workforce, while others need more persuasion. If you encounter any resistance, check out The Vegan Society’s guidance on workplace matters.

People chatting in the workplace
Image Credit: Unsplash

3. Showcase your vegan meals

If you work in an office environment, why not show people the impressive range of vegan options available nowadays?

One tried-and-tested way to make veganism more palatable is to reach people’s hearts by way of their tastebuds. After all, the last vestige of defence from the non-vegan is, “But I could never give up chocolate!”

If you can show colleagues how simple it is to make a few changes, then you’re not only highlighting that vegan food is much more exciting than the mealy, unimaginative stereotypes of the 1970s, but you’re sparking a conversation.

That doesn’t mean you have to become the office caterer, however. Spending a little time making yourself appealing plant-based lunches can make your meals the envy of your workplace.

If your office has a culture of baking, show how easy it is to make amazing brownies, biscuits or cookies that are 100% animal-free. Once people become aware eating vegan doesn’t mean ‘missing out’ on many of their favourite foods, you’re already halfway there.

4. Meet people where they’re at

Though more people are becoming receptive to the valid and rational reasons for going vegan, others are less easy to persuade.

What we eat can be a very personal thing and may even go some way towards constructing our identities.

When advocating veganism in the workplace, just remember that very few people have been vegan from birth and most vegans have used animal products at some point in their lives!

Encourage small changes and allow colleagues to explore plant-powered living in their own time.

5. Get involved in Veganuary’s Workplace Challenge

Veganuary is the best time to motivate your colleagues to try vegan! Our free Workplace Challenge encourages companies to promote the benefits of eating plant-based, as well as offering vegan meals in canteens.

Some of the biggest companies in the world have tried our Workplace Challenge! From team activities to vegan potlucks, there are plenty of ways to get your colleagues involved (even if you work from home).

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part. Will you join them?