Deliver Innovation and Retention Via Your Break Space

November 15, 2022 · Read Time: 1 Min

Building a culture of engagement one snack at a time

People connect over food. Stock a break room with snacks and watch conversations — and ideas — fly. Give employees flexibility and robust choices and all of a sudden, office life becomes more dynamic. Surveys show that engaged employees perform better, leading to job satisfaction and, ultimately, job retention. Food — and the interaction that surrounds it — is a strong contributor to such engagement.

In 2009, MIT researchers studied “the watercooler effect,” where workers’ overall productivity increased by 10% to 15% when they could organically interact with colleagues, forming stronger “work tribes.” This type of cohesion is a large factor in both productivity and job satisfaction.

Watercooler Effect: Productivity increased by 10%-15% when colleagues organically interact with each other.

And where do these interactions most commonly occur? In break rooms and snack areas around the office, anywhere employees gather for a breather and chat. They’re a hot spot for creativity and connection, providing an incredible opportunity to increase employee engagement.

The future of office life lies in creating a thoughtful space for these interactions. Harris interactive research says 50% of businesses are considering reducing or reallocating space for better collaboration and productivity. It’s essential to create customized and scalable spaces that maximize each square foot so it is agile enough to face the challenges of a constantly evolving workforce.

It’s a straightforward formula, really: Create an inviting space with buzzworthy food and beverage options and watch employees connect. A food vending machine or micro market that serves fresh sandwiches and tossed salads, smart vending machines stocked with a well-rounded selection of fresh food and snack boxes (for both the health-conscious and the indulger), an office pantry chock-full of healthy choices, office coffee services offering freshly brewed premium and craft coffees, top-of-the-line hydration stations — these are all starting points for conversations that will resonate beyond an ordinary day at the office.

A micro market is a starting point for employee conversations. Fostering stronger work ties.

Those MIT researchers couldn’t have imagined the evolution of the office water cooler. In today’s modern workspace, the break room is exactly the place where employees go full speed ahead.

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