How To Design A Functional Office Kitchen

Workplaces are becoming ever more flexible in terms of hours, dress code and worker benefits, which means that unsociable hours need to be catered for more effectively. At the forefront of this is the office kitchen, which can and should become so much more than a sink, a kettle and a microwave in need of a wipe.

 

Indeed, many industries are investing big in office kitchens as a way to boost productivity, keep workers happy and project a flexible, easy-going brand image. This post will go some way towards explaining how offices can cater more effectively for their flexible workforce by designing the office kitchen anew - in a more conscientious, functional way that reflects the modern worker’s needs.

Remember the kitchen triangle

The kitchen triangle is a fundamental cornerstone of kitchen design. Without adhering to this simple maxim, your new kitchen will soon become a chaotic mess, which is something best avoided, especially in a fast-paced office setting.

 

The triangle is exactly what it sounds like - a three-pointed zone of productivity with the fridge, cooker and sink at each end. Making sure these three vital areas are within close proximity when fitting out an office is a very important step towards an efficient kitchen.

 

An office kitchen space should be prepared for multiple team members making different types of food at the same time - so a keen eye on the kitchen triangle is absolutely essential.

The office kitchen triangle

Allow for more culinary expression

The humble microwave meal is, in many ways, a symbol of an unfulfilling work culture and lunchtime routine. Doing away with the microwave and replacing it with a hob or fully-fledged oven is a strategy that workplaces could adopt to make the office more homely and encourage more culinary expression.

 

Team meals could be a far cheaper affair if the company bought ingredients to make a hearty stew or curry - and the cooking itself could be seen as a useful team-building exercise. This might be a little inefficient to do every day, but think of the savings that could be made on an office Christmas meal if team members cooked it themselves!

 

Alternatively, staff could chip in and agree on a varied menu one day a week, which would allow each person to try their hand at cooking for the team. This could have disastrous or brilliant results - but will certainly be something that colleagues will bond over.

Fully equipped office kitchen

Don't Forget: Be safety-conscious!

Health and safety is paramount in the workplace - and should be considered at all times during your workplace kitchen construction process. Be sure to locate the kitchen near to an emergency exit, just in case disaster strikes - this will come in handy during risk assessments of the building.

 

In addition, be sure to place plugs far away from water sources, but in locations that will be useful to workers preparing their food. If you’re installing a hot water tap, be sure to have warning signs up - considerations like this mean that both workplace accidents and the subsequent litigation are less likely.

Think about efficiency

Allowing for more expression shouldn’t come at the cost of decreased efficiency - there has to be a line drawn somewhere. Far from making their own artisan pasta, most of your workforce will simply be reheating last night’s leftovers and will want to spend a very short portion of their lunch break actually cooking.

 

Providing a row of microwaves so there isn’t a hold-up or queue is a great efficiency consideration - although you must make sure these are kept clean, as a mucky microwave is the scourge of an office kitchen. The same goes for having more than one toaster for quick breakfast snacks and a hot water tap in lieu of a kettle that is constantly being refilled.

 

Efficiency savings like this make for a happier workforce, especially among those who prefer to work through lunch during high-pressure working days and would rather avoid added stress being brought on by the kitchen.

Multiple facilities create efficiency in the office kitchen

Make the space more social

Too often, the office kitchen is seen as an afterthought - a space to warm up yesterday’s leftovers and engage in awkward small talk. This doesn’t have to be the case, as some of the most cutting-edge companies see the office kitchen as a space to network and blow off steam in the middle of the working day.

 

Adding comfy seating and casual coffee tables alongside dining furniture will encourage workers to spend more time in the kitchen, networking and problem-solving with their fellow team members - or just chatting about anything under the sun. If you don’t mind being subject to accusations of being cliché, a table tennis or table football table could be popular additions to the kitchen.

 

This will be especially useful for employees taking breaks during long, anti-social shifts, as there’s nothing worse than being stuck in an uncomfortable office with an uninspiring kitchen while most people are enjoying leisure time.

Make your office kitchen a social space

Top Tip: Provide a staples cupboard

If there’s one thing that’s more annoying than forgetting your lunch, it’s forgetting half your lunch. A missing bread roll that would have gone brilliantly with homemade soup or a portion of rice that would have made last night’s curry taste superb - this is a common occurrence across workplaces and a problem that’s exacerbated if your office is on a business park far from adequate shops.

 

Providing a staples cupboard is a solution to this that will be popular amongst your workforce. Bread, rice, pasta and noodles can all find a home alongside the classic tea and coffee offering present in most office kitchens. Not only will this prevent lunchtime mishaps, but it’ll also encourage a healthy eating culture amongst your workforce.

Update the tired aesthetic

No two office kitchens should look the same, yet they should retain a clean, professional look. You can strike this balance effectively by investing in eye-catching kitchen tiles - think a geometric Moroccan design or a checkerboard in sharp colours - just enough to add a dash of creativity to the room.

 

Colourful splashbacks and floors can inject a little vigour into your office kitchen - useful if you have workers doing long shifts in search of a little subliminal pick-me-up. However, functionality must remain key, as this ultimately governs workplace efficiency and employee happiness - so if there’s been a campaign for extra microwaves, you should heed that first before overhauling the decor.

Update your office kitchen with vibrant tiles

Incorporate it into the workspace

Open-plan offices that encourage creative collaboration should ensure the kitchen is at the heart of discussion and debate. SEC Interiors’ design for the REWIND office in St. Albans epitomises this, offering breakout furniture and collaboration-friendly bench seating options, all within close proximity of the main working area.

 

Of course, you need to know when to opt for an open plan in this way, and when not to. If your business features a fast-paced sales floor, you should consider keeping the office kitchen behind some doors to create a stress-free environment.

 

If your office is client and customer-facing, your kitchen should be placed away from areas where workers and customers mix to make sure breaks aren’t waylaid by off-the-clock customer service.

Incorporate the office kitchen into the workspace

Ultimately, your office kitchen should accurately reflect your workplace’s needs. If you keep the above considerations in mind throughout every stage of the process, you’ll end up with an office kitchen that’ll be both popular with employees and eye-catching to clients and visitors.

Author Bio

Tiles Direct, is one of the largest and most experienced independent tile distributors and retailers in the UK, priding themselves on second-to-none reputation for providing not only unbeatable customer service but also the best quality products at the lowest possible prices.