Company Cafeterias: The Next 3rd Space Hot Spot

As noon approaches, many of us begin to organize the rest of our afternoon and plan to grab a bite to eat.  But what we are beginning to realize is how important this midday break can be for an organization’s success.  The ripple effects of promoting casual collaboration over lunch influences employee wellness and company communication within an organization, along with many other benefits.  See below for our top 3 ways the cafeteria is the perfect opportunity to maximize this sometimes untapped space of a company:

1.Employee Wellness.  As the Well Building Design Standard for Nourishment promotes, providing a space for mindful eating is paramount in wellness design (learn more).

“The Society for Human Resource Management reported last year that only as few as 18% of organizations had cafeterias – essentially the argument is one of the cost of having and running a cafeteria. Not having a cafeteria presents the hungry employee with a Hobson’s choice for lunch – either have a hurried bite at the desk or make an extended run out to the nearest restaurant. A Right Management survey a couple of years ago showed that as many as 81% of employees were not having a real break for lunch. The ill-effects in terms of stress and the long-term ramifications on the wellness of the employees are obvious,” (Food For Thought: The Office Cafeteria’s Key Role).

2. Time Saved.  Providing a convenient location for lunch saves employees valuable time they would spend leaving the premises in search of their mealtime destination.

“The most obvious reason for an organization with the required scale to have a cafeteria is the time it saves for employees. HR Consulting firm Towers Watson conducted a survey among technology companies in the Silicon Valley in the US and reported that employees of firms with in-house cafeterias saved anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes at lunchtime. This additional time could easily translate into more productivity or at the very least, a shorter work day for the employee,” (Food For Thought: The Office Cafeteria’s Key Role).

3. Team Building.  Although when we hear “team building” thoughts of trust falls or human pyramids may come to mind, the ripple effects of promoting casual collaboration while eating could influence communication and team building within an organization.

“Researchers led by Kevin Kniffin, of Cornell University, say they’ve found a deceptively simple method: Encourage teams to eat together.  Some might regard preparing and eating food together—academics call it ‘commensality’—as too mundane to merit research or management interest. But Kniffin and his colleagues point out that eating is such a primal behavior that it can be extraordinarily meaningful, even if most of us do it three (or more) times a day,” (Harvard Business Review: Team Building in the Cafeteria).

Additionally, according to Fast Company’s Why Every Company Should Have A Cafeteria that also reviewed this same study, “Eating together is more intimate than coworkers working on a Google doc or an Excel spreadsheet…That intimacy may spill over to other activities—in this case, work. Presumably there’s some positive bonding that comes about from that.”

Keeping all of these positive benefits in mind, below we have gathered some specific product solutions that can heighten the design and comfort of your cafeteria space:

Are you looking to update your company cafeteria space?  Contact us today to learn more!