70% of the interactions between employees take place outside areas intended strictly for meetings. So where do employees usually meet? Where do the best ideas germinate, appearing as a result of informal meetings? The answer is simple: over a cup of coffee in the kitchen.
“The size of social spaces is a problem for 33.5 percent of people working in the offices we examined” reads a report published at the end of last year, entitled How to create a good office? It’s a Nowy Styl Group study, based on interviews with nearly 2,500 employees. As many as one-third of the interviewees were not happy with the kitchen available to them – the most common of the five biggest office problems the study revealed.
The importance of a kitchen in an office space has evolved considerably. In the past, people did not pay much attention to social spaces – employees didn’t normally eat dinner at work, so kitchenettes were located in small, narrow corners of the office. Today, common spaces have gained importance. The kitchen is where we satisfy our appetite, but it also has a social aspect role – having meals together integrates the team, and thus counteracts burnout and contributes to greater job satisfaction. It is where employees meet, discuss and exchange information over a cup of coffee. It offers priceless moments that would never happen if the kitchen was too cramped (in which case the waiting time would breed frustration) or if there was no kitchen at all.
The kitchen has another advantage: the informal atmosphere. Many great writers say they created their works by imagining they had just sat in the kitchen with some good friends they wanted to share a story with. Words flow and the style is light, because this is the kind of aura a kitchen space creates: relaxed and pleasant. It’s a similar situation with office work. The kitchen’s relaxed atmosphere should be supported by its decor and furnishings; this is where the increasingly popular home-office trend in design and the idea of work-life blending can show their full benefits. A kitchen does not have to – and actually should not – resemble an austere canteen. It should have vivid colours, wood finishes and furniture that creates a homely feel. The Play&Work system is just the right solution to achieve this effect. Add some small tables and you’ll get a cosy corner – just perfect for quick regeneration.
They say that the kitchen is the heart of a home. More and more often you can hear people paraphrase this statement: the kitchen is also the heart of every office. It’s therefore a good idea to engage employees in designing it. We organize workshops where employees can specify what they need from spaces like kitchens in a controlled way; they can talk about their visions and ideas for the style or the main theme of the kitchen design. As a result, they are more satisfied with the common space they get, and they feel they have contributed to the idea. The kitchen often becomes their favourite place in the office. Favourite, because they co-created it.
You are welcome to visit our stand at the Orgatec fair, the central point of which will be a coffee garden. This is where we will meet our customers, so please join us for a cup of coffee!