Reasons the Office Kitchen Sparks Collaboration
There’s a reason why everyone at the party always ends up in the office kitchen. It’s the heart of the home and, for many companies, it has become the heart of the business, too. Coffee breaks, lunches, informal meetings, chats, and socialising all happen in the kitchen because, at some point in the day, most people head there for a break. Companies in the know are quickly switching to the idea of turning the kitchen into an important collaboration space. With the convergence of café culture, agile/mobile work patterns, and wellbeing initiatives, it’s the next logical step.
Planning an Office Move or Refurb?
Here are 10 reasons why your next office move, refurb, or workplace improvement plan should elevate the kitchen to your top priority meeting space:
It feels like home
A kitchen space is a familiar space to everyone. Without computers, desks, and work accessories, it’s the room at work that feels most like home, which naturally puts people at ease. It allows your staff to stop for a moment and breathe, which not only decreases stress but can be the time when inspiration strikes and solutions appear.
It’s a great leveler
Socialising is great for company culture, which is good for business – especially when hierarchical barriers are relaxed. Operations Director or Accounts Assistant – the kitchen is a great place to equalise staff, remove boundaries and make multi-level collaboration possible. Given the right spaces to mingle, staff will naturally cross paths and interact with others they wouldn’t ordinarily speak to, which can boost wellbeing, confidence, and enjoyment for individuals, as well as expanding their connections and personal network.
It encourages cross-working
Away from our desks, we’re more likely to seek opinions, exchange ideas, and share problems with others outside a project, which can bring a fresh perspective. Often, this can generate new collaborations and cross-working solutions, which can boost creativity and efficiencies from other areas in the business.
Meetings are informal and spontaneous
As a social space, the kitchen is free from schedules, appointments, and bookings. Meetings here are often spontaneous, taken over lunch or coffee, which can provoke a more open, honest, and informal conversation between colleagues.
Comfort = Creativity
In a relaxed setting, such as in the comfort of café-style furniture, our brains and bodies relax. Away from the ears and eyes of colleagues and formal constraints of the traditional workspace, creativity is able to flourish as people think and talk more freely.
It’s a break from screens and desks
The always-on culture is one that can bring stress to an employee. That, coupled with the sedentary problems of sitting at a desk for hours, can wreak havoc on health and wellbeing. The kitchen is often the easiest and most accessible place to take a break from the screen, whilst also encouraging movement throughout the day.
Well-stocked for wellness
It’s tempting for your staff to sit at their desk all day and eat without a break if there’s no incentive to do otherwise. By providing staff with drinks, fruit, and snacks (and a decent coffee machine) in the kitchen, employers can help staff to take healthy breaks and fuel their minds for increased productivity and wellness.
It’s a natural learning environment
Away from desks and screens, people are free to think and digest information on their terms. As children, the kitchen was often the place where much learning happened; where wisdom was passed down, instructions were followed, and recipes were created. As adults, it’s a place where we listen to others and share stories while eating and cooking, making it the perfect environment for passive learning.
Technology is never far away
Tech is now mobile and so are your employees. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones enable your staff to take their work wherever they want to go – and choose a work setting depending on the task in hand. Whilst the joy of the kitchen catch-up is the escape from the screen, tech is always on hand to illustrate a point if needed.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune
The office kitchen can become an important social space without much investment. It’s a room with incredible potential that already features in every workspace, after all. With clever furniture choices and smart space planning, you can quickly transform a functional kitchen into a relaxed and collaborative meeting space.
Where do you start with turning your kitchen into a collaboration space? Ask an expert space planner, architect, or interior designer for advice. If you'd like to talk about it, we're happy to chat!