Are you searching for ways to improve your landscape or add some valuable workplace perks for your team? Consider picnic tables. Outdoor lunch breaks offer many benefits to your employees, made possible through the picnic tables that make outdoor dining accessible. Learn why picnic tables are such an excellent investment to make your workplace or site more attractive to workers.
How Outdoor Picnic Tables Improve Employee Lunch Breaks
Renovating an outdoor space to include picnic tables and outdoor dining tables is a fantastic way to improve your site amenities. Access to outdoor dining is becoming an increasingly popular workplace perk. It is also more cost-effective to implement than renovating indoor spaces, and it has some excellent benefits for workplace culture and productivity.
Outdoor picnic tables are beneficial because:
1. They Offer Fresh Air and Sunshine
It’s no secret spending time in the great outdoors is good for our health. Fresh air has fewer irritants, making it more comfortable and healthier to breathe. Natural sunlight helps create a healthy dose of vitamin D and can improve sleep cycles. Spending time outside has some clear benefits for employee wellness. It can lower healthcare costs and improve workplace satisfaction at the same time.
Spending time outdoors also has advantages for productivity. A recent study found spending 29 minutes in nature gives employees a 45% boost to productivity. The combination of greenery, clean air and natural sunlight has a powerful effect. In the time it takes your employees to eat their lunches, they will also recharge themselves in a relaxed outdoor environment.
2. They Create a Social, Relaxed Atmosphere
Having a time and place for socialization at work can also profoundly impact productivity and company culture. While it’s easy to see a lunch break as unproductive time, they improve morale and camaraderie. Socializing gives employees a sense of belonging and creates stronger ties to the company, which improves retention rates. While many lunch break conversations veer toward non-work-related subjects, they also give employees a chance to talk through challenges and ask for advice. Informal chats can eventually generate new business ideas that benefit the company.
Picnic tables encourage socialization by providing a spot for employees to dine together. In a bustling, stressful business environment, employees might be tempted to take their lunch breaks at their desks. With picnic tables, they have an inviting, outdoor atmosphere to turn to and meet up with coworkers.
3. They Encourage Employees to Actually Take Their Lunch Breaks
Eating at a desk encourages employees to work through the lunch break. From the employer’s perspective, this can seem like a good thing at first. But once these long hours become a habit, you will soon notice your team is less productive, unengaged and near the brink of burnout.
A study of American and Canadian employees found 90% feel refreshed and ready to get back to work after taking a lunch break. Those breaks are crucial because they boost productivity and creativity by providing time for mental rest. The benefits are compounded when the break includes time outdoors.
Unfortunately, 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take their lunch breaks. Incorporating picnic tables into an outdoor dining area sends a clear message. They let your team know lunch breaks are welcome and integral to your workplace culture.
4. They Are Sanitary
One benefit of picnic tables is they are inherently outdoor-ready. Since they resist water, they’re easy to spray with a hose, wipe down and disinfect if needed. While it is easy for outdoor dining areas to become dirty, keeping them clean doesn’t take a lot of maintenance. A shade structure can easily protect them from bird droppings and falling leaves. The occasional cleaning handles the rest. Employees can feel confident they’re eating at a clean table without much added responsibility from facilities staff.
5. They Create Dining Areas for Office Parties
The only thing better than a relaxing lunch break is a workplace celebration. Whether it’s a retirement party or a reward for a job well done, the occasional corporate event is a fantastic office perk. They usually come with some special dining options, which is another benefit to your employees’ lunch breaks. Creating outdoor dining for daily use builds in a functional space for corporate events, too. When designing your outdoor dining area, consider budgeting some room for a buffet table or provide nearby parking for food trucks.
Creating an Outdoor Space With Picnic Tables
If you want to add picnic tables to your office building, park or workplace, consider your project from start to finish. What are you hoping to accomplish with your employee dining area? Will it be a relaxing break area or double as an added communal workspace? Defining your goals will help you organize your employee lunch area ideas.
Planning your outdoor lunch space breaks down into five steps:
1. Select and Prepare Your Site
First things first — where is your dining area going? Maybe you plan on converting part of the parking lot close to your building into a dining area. It could be an offshoot of your indoor cafeteria. If you are pressed for ground-level space, you might consider building a terrace for your picnic area. Perhaps you have some “hidden gem” views somewhere on your property that could make a dining area worth the walk. A soothing pond or garden nearby could get your team to enjoy nature.
Once you select your site, prepare it for the tables and other furnishings. Mark off the exact square footage, and work with a landscape architect to develop a usable space your employees will love. Begin construction on your upper-level deck or lay pavers to create a patio.
2. Choose Your Picnic Tables
You might be surprised how many options you have for style, colour and size when it comes to outdoor seating. When designing an exterior dining area, you have a lot of flexibility when selecting the employee lunch tables for your facility. All your commercial picnic table options offer unique benefits.
In-ground picnic tables ensure your layout stays orderly and in-line with your design. Portable picnic tables offer flexible arrangements. Employees can push tables together for their group. You can also transform your dining space for different sizes and types of corporate gatherings.
Choose from circular, square and rectangular tables. Decide between attached or movable chairs and tables with backs. To give your dining area more of a lounge or coffee-shop feel, consider high-top tables and stools and accentuate with some soft seating. Incorporate wheelchair-accessible tables as needed and choose a colour scheme to fit your brand or the surrounding architecture.
Need more picnic table ideas? Browse our outdoor furniture catalogues from some of the brands we carry, such as Little Tikes Commercial, Miracle Recreation and Wabash Valley.
3. Add Shade Structures
Tie your picnic area together with an outdoor shelter and shade structure or some picnic table umbrellas. Adding shade makes your dining area useable even in the hot Canadian summers. One option is to build a permanent shelter, such as a gazebo, sun shelter or semi-outdoor building. These can provide a shield from the sun and even some protection from the rain. Or, opt for a fabric sun sail or canopy to provide a simple sun protection solution.
4. Provide Trash Bins and Other Amenities
To create a functional outdoor dining and break area, consider all the amenities your employees are likely to need. Some of those features might include:
- Trash receptacles: At the top of the list is certainly trash cans, which will go a long way towards keeping your new picnic area tidy. If sustainability is essential to your corporate culture, consider adding matching recycling and compost receptacles.
- Bike racks: If the dining area is far away from other entrances, consider adding a bike rack so employees can get to the dining area quickly during their breaks.
- Fencing: To create separation from a parking lot or enhance safety, you might also incorporate a fence around the area.
5. Plant Greenery and Decorate
Complete your outdoor dining space by adding outdoor planters or even a small garden. Since connecting with nature is so vital for reaping the health and productivity benefits of an outdoor lunch break, your picnic area should include plenty of greenery. This is even more important if your dining area is in an urban setting or office park without much nature nearby. Planting colourful flowers and lively foliage will give your outdoor picnic areas a peaceful, refreshing atmosphere.
Learn More About Outdoor Picnic Tables From PlayPower Canada
PlayPower Canada has an extensive collection of quality, durable picnic tables through our outdoor recreation brands like Little Tikes Commercial, Miracle Recreation and Wabash Valley. We can furnish your park to attract nearby corporate lunch-goers or help you build an outdoor dining area your employees will enjoy for years to come. Learn all about the picnic table options we have available.
If you are interested in our picnic tables or anything else in our line of outdoor site amenities, contact our helpful team for more information and to begin planning your project.