Managers are recognising more and more that their staff are increasingly becoming more mobile and are moving between different companies with greater frequency. This shift has also been accompanied by a greater realisation, especially among younger staff, that there is a work-life balance and that enjoyment of the workplace is critical. This puts pressure on managers to retain the best staff and to make the work place an area that is warm and inviting.
At the same time, the workplace is changing. Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on how people work, and more importantly, where people work. The office of the past is unlikely to be the office of the future as remote-working has been shown to offer considerable savings in commute times and in efficiency. It is not possible to interrupt your colleague by knocking on their door and walking in for an impromptu discussion, when you are separated geographically working from home.
That then leaves managers with a dilemma because team interactions, and the sharing of tacit knowledge, used to happen in boardrooms, meeting rooms and around the coffee machine or water cooler. In today’s world that is less possible than it was before for many companies that continue to allow their staff to work from home.
So how do you encourage that sharing? Many companies have opted to retain some aspects of remote working and intersperse this with days of “in-office” interaction. It seems to offer the best of both worlds because for 2 or three days of the week you save the commute, allow staff more family time and save the costs of office infrastructure, but also have that all important interactivity.
The question then is how to promote the social engagement and how to do it in a way that makes financial sense, especially for companies that have suffered during the Covid crisis?
We have found that such companies appreciate the provision of a high-quality coffee solution which not only attracts those who enjoy their cappuccino or latte, but also indicates that the environment is welcoming. Some have used the extra space that has resulted from downsizing to expand the interactivity area and to make it a hub of social (and business) activity with loungers and snacks.
Office coffee machines then effectively stand as an invitation to interact with others and with high quality coffee beans and a variety of coffee drinks, the atmosphere is similar to a coffee shop. The use of automatic coffee machines allows a low-cost operation because there is no need for a barista, and the modern range of coffee machines offers coffee that competes with any barista. We look at how to choose an office coffee machine here.
We suggest that in offices with less traffic, or more variable attendance, that they use bean coffee machines with a skimmed milk powder. This allows hygienic auto flushing and no need for anyone to have to look after more perishable liquid milk. Hygiene goes up and cost comes down. When looking for a coffee machine, our review of the best coffee machines for offices, might be useful.
If you are looking to provide such an environment and to keep control of costs, you can opt for card readers that will allow a certain number of cups of coffee or hot chocolate per-day per person, or you can decide what drinks the coffee machine serves and between which hours it is operational. If you want to calculate your costs, use the cost calculator here
The final point to make is that renting an office coffee machine is probably your best bet because you are effectively outsourcing a non-core function to a company that knows what it is doing and can buy in bulk to make the cost factor less of a concern. Have a look at our article “6 Good Reasons to Buy or Rent an Office Coffee Machine” if you would like to learn more.
Make your work environment a place that staff want to return to, even if only a few days a week, and show them that not only do you value them, but you want them to enjoy interacting with their colleagues.