Designing An Office Kitchen: A Guide For Managers And Business Owners

If you have an office with more than a couple of employees, it's important to have a kitchen space where your workers can prepare meals, heat up their lunches, and enjoy snacks throughout the day. But designing this kitchen space is not quite as simple as tossing a microwave on the counter and a fridge in the corner. With numerous people going in and out of the kitchen each day and using it in many different ways, it's essential that your office kitchen is set up for efficiency and ease of use. Here are some tips to get you started as you begin designing the kitchen.

Include multiples of small appliances.

If there's just one microwave, one toaster oven, and one coffee pot, the lines are going to get pretty long around lunchtime when everyone starts heating up their food. As long as there is space, try to include multiples of these appliances. You can put them right next to each other. The idea is that if two or three people can heat up their food at once, your employees will waste less time waiting their turn -- meaning they'll be back on task sooner. And with two or three coffee pots, you can offer two or three different types of coffee each day. That's sure to improve employee satisfaction and productivity!

Choose easy-to-clean surfaces.

When it comes to counter tops and floors, make sure each surface you choose can be cleaned with a simple wipe-down. Stay away from materials like granite or stainless steel that must be cleaned with certain types of solutions. This will only get you into trouble, since between the many employees who visit the kitchen, it will be tough to ensure everyone uses the right cleaning products when they wipe up a spill. Acrylic counter tops are a good choice since they're inexpensive, compatible with an array of cleaners, and resistant to bacterial growth. An vinyl fridge is a good choice for the same reasons.

Choose a refrigerator without a freezer.

Standard refrigerators tend to dedicate a large portion of their space to the freezer section. This will most likely end up as wasted space in your office, since employees are unlikely to keep frozen items at work. Choose a refrigerator model without a freezer section so there's more space for your employees to keep their items. Put a sign on the fridge that reminds employees to label their items, and leave a roll of tape and a marker on top of the fridge. This should prevent employees from having to shuffle through a bunch of containers to figure out which was theirs -- and it will help prevent accidental theft, too.

Consider designating a separate room as a sitting space.

If your kitchen is large, then there may indeed be room for a table or two. But often when happens is that businesses try to cram tables into a too-small kitchen, making it hard for those who are preparing or warming up food to squeeze in and complete their tasks effectively. If you have a second room nearby that you can use as a dining area, use it. Make the kitchen a food prep area only.

Place the appliances as far from the doorway as possible.

You don't want the microwave, coffee pot, or other appliances right by the door, or the doorway will get blocked whenever there is a line to use that appliance. Try to locate the appliances across the room from the doorway, so that employees can line up inside the kitchen instead of having to wind along the wall outside the room.

Put some thought into your office's kitchen design, and your employees will have an easier time using it throughout the day. For more advice, contact a company specializing in kitchen efficiency.