Choosing furniture for your cafeteria can be tricky. You need to walk a fine line between comfort and cost – ensuring that your employees can fully relax and enjoy the space, while making sure you don’t go over budget.
The cafeteria is a very important space – it’s where your staff go not only to eat meals, but also to rejuvenate and possibly socialise. Improving this space can have a direct effect on improving productivity, job satisfaction and overall employee wellbeing – so we’ve written this guide to how to choose the best furniture for your cafeteria.
You’re trying to create a relaxing and enjoyable space for your staff, so the aesthetics of your furniture are a key factor. Cheap-looking or ‘boring’ fold-away steel chairs with no colour or style are not the path to take – try and get something bright or attractive, and coordinate with your room’s decor. You can get cost-effective plastic furniture in a huge range of colours or, if your budget is a little bigger, consider a colourful wood or metal option.
This space is about giving your staff a place to relax during their break – they don’t want to be sitting in rigid, uncomfortable seating and at tables built with no regard for ergonomics. This is probably where you should focus if your budget is tight – get the most comfortable and versatile options that you can, and you’ll reap the benefits in terms of employee satisfaction and productivity.
Static furniture that you might find in a diner or fast-food restaurant may not always be the best choice for your staff canteen. Bear in mind that people might want to move a chair to go and sit with their colleagues, or move the seat away from the table to better stretch out – you’re not aiming for high throughput of customers here, you’re trying to make a place of relaxation. Moveable furniture will allow staff to configure the chairs and tables how they see fit, and will also have the secondary benefit of allowing you to move them about or pack them away if you need to double the room up for a conference or large-scale meeting. It’s also a lot easier to install and maintain non-fixed furniture.
On the other hand, if you are keen to keep well orgainsted space, static booths can be a good choice – particularly in much larger canteen spaces, like hospitals and factories with a large workforce.
Make sure that your new canteen furniture can easily be wiped clean between users. No one wants to sit at a messy/dirty/sticky table, and staff will not want to spend a significant part of their breaks cleaning down the furniture. Wipe-clean surfaces should be a standard here. To ensure that your furniture remains bright and fresh for many years, make sure that any colours are resistant to UV damage as well.
For the best, longest lasting and most hygienic furniture – look for metal framework and either metal or plastic seating with plastic topped tables. With occasional checking of the bolts and connections your investment should last for a good number of years. Plastic seating should be capable of withstanding a high load – bear in mind that some of your staff might be heavier than others, and any cracks can quickly become health and safety risks.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk