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The importance of a working office kitchen for employee well-being

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At the heart of any home is the kitchen and, with the boom in café-culture, it is also at the core of the modern office. Many SMEs and businesses pride themselves on being collaborative, so it’s no wonder they rely on this space so much. 

People tend to gravitate towards the kitchen and breakrooms for one-to-ones, thoughtful chats and productive meetings. So it makes sense to have a comfortable space which is available to everyone. Some businesses have gone all-out with their break area to help improve employee satisfaction, transforming the entire office to make the kitchen a thriving hub of activity – complete with barista-style coffee.

Barnaby Lashbrooke, founder of virtual assistant platform Time etc, said:

"My team regularly heads to the kitchen to collaborate in our ‘break out’ area. And most of the high-spec serviced offices for SMEs that have popped up in the past couple of years have designed their communal spaces around a bustling open kitchen area serving excellent coffee. This is not accidental, it’s part of the new workplace culture that encourages networking.”

Providing employees with a place where they can take some time to re-group will in turn go a long way towards helping increase productivity. After a small break, they can return to their workspace with a fresher perspective to continue their work.

If you’re looking for more ways to make your business a beacon of productivity, then providing things like the quality coffee, tea and, if budgets permit, lunch is a good place to start. You could even just place healthy foods to snack on around the break area for staff to enjoy, so they feel satisfied and ready to keep working. 

Research by Fruitful Office shows that by simply offering fresh fruit to staff, you can increase productivity by more than 10%. Over three quarters of those surveyed revealed that the offer of the fruit made them feel more valued, and almost 80% said it made them feel healthier. 

Additionally, multi-level collaboration is becoming more popular in offices up and down the country. Having an open plan arrangement where directors sit with interns and managers sit with junior members of staff, means the workplace can feel more equal and improve staff morale.  

A flexible seating plan can also encourage collaboration between all levels of staff for effective team meetings. By creating a ‘we are all equal’ culture in your workplace, you can help employees feel happier and more valued, which can improve staff retention rates.

Encouraging staff to take breaks and use the facilities on offer will go a long way towards their well-being. But, this will only work if the kitchen is in working order. Use specific break out seating to differentiate between the working area and the relaxing lunch area. Just be sure to create some office kitchen rules so all staff respect the space. Make sure there are enough paper towels and cleaning products around so everyone can help keep the space looking clean and tidy.

Creative design agency, Mother, asks their employees to come up with fresh, new ideas on a regular basis. So, when redesigning their offices in 2004, Clive Wilkinson Architects proposed and built them a 200-seat table which went on to win the AIA Honor award.

In an interview with AdWeek, Matthew Clarke, Partner at Mother, said:

“It forges a culture of openness. We’re constantly moving on; there’s no time to form cliques and departmentalised bonding. It keeps things really fresh. You might have a senior creative person asking for a suggestion about music and a billings clerk gives him the suggestion he ends up using.”

Offering employee perks like free snacks and flexible working may not be the traditional approach to working life, but they are often an indicator of the attitudes your company has to its workforce and their health and well-being. If applied thoughtfully, they can increase moral and boost productivity. Making sure you have a fully-functional, clean office kitchen fit for both food and meeting’s will go a long way to helping staff feel rested after a break.

Visit our site and have a look at the Food And Breakroom solutions page to learn more about our offer and assortment, that can go a long way towards making the most of your breakroom. 

For more insights on keeping your workforce happy and productive, visit our Vantage point Magazine page to download the magazine.

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