True story: my mother worked for many years at a department store in Vancouver, which also happened to be the location for the Christmas movie, Elf. It wasn’t the first film to be shot there – Vancouver is known as ‘Hollywood North’ and its skyline appears in many major films – but she remembered it as an interesting experience, as well as for the fact that it paid for new furniture for the staff room, including leather couches.
Providing staff amenities such as communal seating areas, outdoor spaces and eating facilities can often be dictated by the type of business you operate and the space available. It’s sometimes not seen as a priority to set aside an area for eating or socialising, forcing many employees to either eat at their desks or leave the office if they want a break. While this may be seen as an acceptable way to work, more and more studies are showing the benefits both to productivity and overall employee health when regular breaks are taken. Long hours slaving at your desk are no longer seen as something to strive for – instead, the health risks associated with overwork are now considered a major contributor to employee sick leave.
It’s rare these days for us to be completely disconnected from our work lives. Internet and mobile phones means we can be on call 24-7, meaning we rarely get the chance to switch off and relax. However, it is required by law that every employee receive a minimum amount of break time per working day or shift – interestingly, the way companies allocate these breaks is now changing, based on the results of several workplace studies. Most of these concluded that taking several shorter breaks, rather than one long one, is more conducive to increased productivity. (Workplace Safety Advice 15/2/2015). We’ve written before about the benefits of taking short stretching breaks – these ‘micro breaks’ of a minute or two give you time to reset and refresh your muscles, especially if you’ve been seated for a long period of time.
Setting aside space for a communal area, whether indoors or out, means employees have a place they can relax and socialise during break times. Fitting out these areas with comfortable, practical furniture will be appreciated by your staff and could potentially lead to increased job satisfaction, productivity and overall health benefits. At Action Handling, we supply a selection of canteen and folding tables, as well as partitioning screens. We even have shelters and walkway covers, so you can transform even the smallest outdoor space into something more amenable.
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