In 2019, Jeff’s Restaurant at Galeria Mokotów conducted a survey which showed that half of the respondents had lunch at their company in designated areas and 20% ate at their desks. The latter option is certainly not convenient for either the employee or those with whom they share a room. We suggest what to do when designing zones where you can eat in peace and quiet and establish valuable relationships to boot.
While sitting at our desk, each of us is usually focused on the work at hand. In conference rooms we meet to talk about specific projects. Conversation is usually moderated and serves a specific purpose. However, because we are social creatures, we also need places to exchange ideas more freely. This is best served by spaces where employees can take a break from their tasks for a while to have breakfast, lunch or coffee.
Away from the hustle and bustle
Food releases endorphins so improving our mood which, if we eat our meals together, we can share in immediately. The zone where employees eat sandwiches or lunch is important for creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere in the company and therefore healthy relationships. It also encourages unrestricted exchange of thoughts that may result in a new, creative idea. Such opportunities alone are wise reasons to be taken into account when designing an office and common space.
Another argument in favour of communal meal times is the increase in awareness of needs, especially among young people, who are guided not only by earning levels but also by conditions in the office. Bearing this in mind, when creating a space plan, a shared meal zone should be designed away from the main communication routes, for example, at the very end of the office or in a side corridor. A place where there will be no hustle and bustle of telephone conversations or the din of office equipment. This way we achieve the creation of an oasis of calm conducive to moments of rest while eating and drinking, giving time and space to employees to breathe and to focus on less formal yet vitally important relationships.
The pleasure of eating
How should a common area be designed in which employees may revitalise themselves while eating and drinking? We should be guided by how we think about the kitchen and dining room at home and taking into account human senses and needs. Comfortable and convenient yet functional, the kitchen is not only a room but the heart of the household. Such a common eating area should be inviting with perhaps smaller tables with soft cushions or café style chairs unlike more utilitarian canteen style furniture we are used to seeing. Comfortable, aesthetic, ergonomic. Warm and appealing colours such as juicy reds, vibrant yellows and lively greens. There should also be decorative elements and plants to help reinforce a homely atmosphere to make time spent here an event to look forward to. Lighting, preferably natural, but if not, should provide a warm colour with a high colour rendering index, because we eat with our eyes.
The above mentioned studies indicate that most employees eat meals at work. They do not go out for lunch. Sociologists, on the other hand, point to the value of random conversations and ad-hoc meetings. It is therefore worth thinking of the shared meals zone in the office as no less important than the other areas of the workplace. With many years of experience in designing workspace, Quadrature focuses on arrangement solutions that are conducive to moments of rest and downtime, as well as casual interaction, in which there is, as we sincerely believe, great potential. Our experience also shows that the more attentive we are to the design of this space, the better the well-being of our employees. And you cannot put a price on that.