It seems that the business world is finally embracing kitchens as centre stage for corporate meet-ups and goings-on. What is going on here exactly? Well, this development echoes the trends in interior design, where kitchens are the newfound hubs of domestic life. Startups and progressive corporations are riding the crest of this wave.
It is no surprise that their employees naturally gravitate towards laid-back areas in search for their moments of peace, one-on-one chats, and other things that are hard to come by in a traditional office. After all, a well-designed kitchen offers a much-needed break from screen time and an opportunity to clear one’s head.
It is the new highlight of an office life, the future of a smart workspace.
The game has changed
In a contemporary corporate layout, the kitchen is much more than just a space to take a short lunch or coffee break. It’s a lively collaboration hub where individuals and teams come together to have casual conversations and impromptu meetings. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see important news shared over a coffee, brainstorming sessions sparking imagination, or all-company events where the staff can gather.
The beauty of it is that the kitchen can be both neutral ground and a highly-branded environment. Namely, it is separated from spaces that belong to different departments and teams. At the same time, it can still act as the thriving heart and soul of an organisation.
The best thing about the kitchen is that it oozes a relaxed vibe and allows employees to unwind and recharge their batteries. If they wish, employees can bring their laptops there and set up a workstation whenever they want. Thus, employees are able to bond on a more meaningful level, get the job done, and bounce ideas off each other.
Champions of the new order
The kitchen is an amazing platform to take collaboration, team-building, and worker engagement to a whole new level. To go an extra mile, some companies incorporate various home-like or café features like large islands, quartz countertops, catering stations, and breakfast bars. Sometimes, kitchens take the form of vast dedicated canteens that can accommodate everyone across the board. This way, they can double as a boardroom or a meeting and conference room.
It’s clear that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tend to see themselves as extended families and they certainly show us how to make the most of kitchen spaces. Some of them even design their whole offices around kitchens. Moreover, they attract top talent with barista-level or craft coffee, big-screen TVs, free beverages, banquettes, table football, deckchairs, computer games, design furniture, and spellbinding modern design.
Form and function
Functionality is still a top priority, which is why forward-thinking businesses do not skimp on kitchen mainstays, like modern appliances and ergonomic furniture. A large, stainless steel refrigerator, for instance, can encourage workers to cook healthy, nutritious meals at home and bring them to the office. A professional-grade coffee maker, on the other hand, satisfies the needs of the whole office and prevents people from running out of steam.
Furniture is also in the spotlight. I have witnessed stunning paragons of utility being added to kitchen offices, such as huge tables that have enough eating space for the whole company. You do not have to go that big, but the point is that a kitchen opens lines of communication and spurs horizontal interactions allowing companies to tap into the knowledge economy.
The kitchen is a highly versatile space. It includes flexible seating arrangements and serves multiple purposes. It supports workers’ health and well-being and is a great way to ignite creativity and empower workers to tackle the daily grind with renewed vigor.
Turn a new leaf
The kitchen has come a long way: from the sidetracked business domain to the focal point of the office. It is now seen in a completely new light, as a perfect tool for capturing the essence of a positive company culture and embodying business values and practices.
So, it is high time to look beyond outdated linoleum finishes, back-hurting chairs, unpleasant smells, and fluorescent lights. Everyone should be able to carry out collaborative work and make connections in a warm and welcoming space.