Good ideas don’t come from just one person, but from the flow and exchange of thoughts, and hunches that are rolling around in the heads of all of your employees. When you create an environment where these people can share their successes, failures and theories, you create an opportunity to turn all of these thoughts into interesting and innovative ideas.
Space designers, architects and professional remodelers have taken note of where employees frequently interact and are designing spaces in their new builds and renovations that provide a place to gather and mingle with other staff members. Because employee connections are often made during lunch time, many designs incorporate kitchens and communal sitting areas. Some businesses want large gourmet-style kitchens with major appliances, large center islands, modern-designed cupboards and communal tables, while other businesses have smaller areas with a coffee station, a small counter and a cafe table with chairs. Whatever the size or style, the goal is to supply your staff with a place where they can relax and connect with others, increase morale and encourage a team effort.
Here are a few tips to make your kitchen design a place where your staff can recharge and engage with others:
- Your staff spends a great deal of their week working for you, so design an area that provides them with a relaxed and comfortable environment. Think of a coffee-house, with a few, large, comfy chairs and small tables for coffee cups.
- Include as much natural light as possible, or if that is not possible use LED lights instead
- Incorporate counter space to prepare food or to place treats for a gathering. A few stools will allow staff members to sit around the counter for extra seating.
- Be sure to have a refrigerator to store lunches and party foods
- Include plenty of storage space for tableware, serving dishes and cleaning supplies
- Create a coffee/tea station with a variety of coffee pods for all tastes
- Include a dishwasher, you’ll be glad you did
- If you want to incorporate a bit of fun, add a few unexpected, repurposed objects or furniture around the room and hang paintings with bright colors.
- Paintings or photos of nature scenes always add interest. Get your employees involved by displaying pictures and art work created by your staff.
- If you have space, include a few different table sizes, such as cafe tables for two and larger tables for small groups
- Provide healthy drink and snack alternatives, you’ll be sending the message that you care about your staff and their health
- Incorporate booths with high, upholstered backs, that help absorb sounds and add privacy.
By including a place in your work environment that provides an opportunity for employee engagement and the exchange of thoughts and ideas, your providing a place that says you value your staff, that you’re choosing to invest in them.