Is your break room a drab, utilitarian place that’s used just to store lunches and warm up last night’s leftovers? Maybe it’s time to update your office kitchen. Forward-thinking companies are looking at the space as more of a “make-or-break” room. Why? Because the lunchroom is where employees all up and down the ladder rub shoulders, creating opportunities to share knowledge and socialize.
There may not be a more effective space for divining a company’s culture. Providing a clean, well-stocked place to relax and have lunch creates a positive, welcoming environment that lets employees know they’re appreciated.
Wellness is also born in the break room—if you set up your office kitchen to support healthy eating choices, your workforce will be healthier.
Here are five easy ways to update your office kitchen.
- Catered snacks. Whether a fruit delivery, vegetable trays, or an occasional bagel spread, providing a small snack—something that might not replace lunch, but that offers some fun eats—can go a long way toward improving the lunchroom atmosphere.
- Create comfortable seating arrangements. Break rooms don’t all have to be oases of plastic tables and chairs. Add couches or recliners to provide comfortable alternative seating. Think about the variety of furniture you see in your neighborhood coffee shop—love seats, couches, tables and chairs. This can create an environment that’s social or relaxing, depending on what an employee is looking to get out of their break.
- Upscale coffee and tea. The average office worker runs on coffee, but there’s a world of difference between a basic drip machine with a jar of powdered creamer and an upscale espresso maker with built-in milk foamer. With the latter on hand, employees could save the money and time they would otherwise spend going out for a daily latte. Make sure to offer a variety of high-quality teas for non-coffee drinkers.
- Drinks on tap. Some companies are offering all kinds of beverages on tap—everything from kombucha to cold brew coffee to beer. Depending on your office culture, consider adding a tasty on-tap beverage to boost conviviality.
- Go beyond the microwave. Adding a panini press to your lunchroom counter can create lots of options for lunch. When you introduce the sandwich maker, consider bringing in bread, fillings, and condiments so that everyone can gather round and try their hand at creating the ultimate panini.
Interested in more ideas for the break room? Ask your employees! Send out an electronic survey, schedule time for discussion in your next staff meeting, or have comment cards in the lunchroom to receive feedback on what your team wants to see in the kitchen and break room.
Dana Lester has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. She is passionate about holistic wellness, eating fruit, and writing.