When working with clients on work space design, it is often that an area for eating, lunch reheating and coffee making is either an after-thought or gets wedged into that tight galley kitchenette beside the copier machine. What many employers frequently overlook while trying to achieve “the Goldilocks Point” in their workplace efficiency is the need to carve out spaces for a corporate cafeteria to serve a number of productive functions. Not only does the cafeteria have the potential to save an employee (and, therefore, an organization) time in not having to leave the building for a bite to eat at a local fast food joint, convenience store or restaurant, it also offers an alternative space to gather and collaborate, build community, reinforce brand messaging, or simply serve as a good reason to get up and stretch one’s legs.
Moreover, as workplace wellness continues to rise as a top concern for employees and employers, investing in your company’s cafeteria area to promote healthy choices is one of the biggest ways to impact the level of wellness within your office. From having your lunch, to simply taking a mental break from the task at hand, a cafeteria can be leveraged as a multi-purpose space to feed your staff as well as promote their individual well being. A worker who feels that their firm is doing all they can to encourage a healthy and balanced lifestyle – not only on a professional level but a personal one – will be an engaged, productive and a loyal ambassador for the organization.
So how can you translate all of this to a functional café design?
Agile and Flexible Furniture:
Some enjoy sitting cafeteria-style, while others like to lounge on comfy couches, while still others prefer standing. Not one size fits all, so accommodate employees’ ability to choose. Our platinum furniture supplier, Artopex, has some great solutions to solve both needs like the Frill or the Downtown Collection.
Millennial Appeal: It’s an undisputed fact that millennials are driving much of the changes to the modern workplace. Companies have a massive opportunity to promote wellness in subtle yet impactful ways to appeal to this demographic. For example, ensuring Wi-Fi is available strong and planning for plenty of power outlets so that your employees think, “wow, they thought of everything!”
Alternative Meeting Space: Meeting rooms are not the exclusive place to have meetings within your office. How many meetings have you been a part of that begin and end outside of a casual meeting space? Most of the time, conversation starts as people gather within a cafeteria or lounge space. Often, it continues outside these spaces and develops into a bigger conversation. More than small talk, these informal exchanges often tee up the need for a formal meeting or summarize next steps for an ongoing conversation. So why not plan for them in a fresh and fun way? Placing The Nook from Mayhew’s furniture collection outside a cafeteria or lounge space to keep the conversation going.
Healthy Foods Fuel Productive Work: The availability of healthy snacks fuels creativity and improves the overall wellness of your employees. Rather than offering candy bars or chips which can lead to sugar spikes and slumps, energize them with wholesome nourishment that will make them feel good and perform better. Other thoughtful touches include incorporating hydration stations for water bottle refill and room for multiple refrigerators to encourage brown bagging it with food made at home. Another idea is to make sure their is enough counter space or an island and invite a local farmer into the office once a week to sell fresh fruits and produce enabling a truly farm-to-table experience – a win-win-win all-around!
Create an inviting space: This is not only feel-good chatter; this can actually yield significant and quantifiable ROI bottom-line results. Have a look at how we accommodated this need for Shred-it. The final design included a multi-functional lunchroom that allowed space for staff to have their lunch, but also offered a secondary place accommodating various seating options to meet with clients outside of lunch hours. A nice side benefit was that this meeting space served a dual purpose of reinforcing Shred-it’s brand messaging and cultural identity. Truly, the environment of today’s working environment is vastly different than that of our parents’ generation. And as a result, the needs for the traditional office cafeteria been redefined in order to adapt to our current professional landscape. Companies motivated to evolve toward a more open-concept, employee-centric workspaces will differentiate themselves among those vying for the brightest and best talent to lead their workforce of today.
If you are considering revamping the arrangement or style of your corporate cafeteria, contact us for a FREE workplace assessment (valued at $2,000.00). The interior designers at Mayhew can help on how to optimize your workplace cafeteria. You’ll love the results, and so will your team!