An inexpensive way to encourage your employees to take in the fresh air and relax during their lunch time or breaks is to create an outdoor eating area. Providing an outdoor eating area for your employees will encourage them to bring a lunch from home instead of going out for fast food and it will give them the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate themselves for the remainder of their work day.
Below are ideas on how to add or improve an outdoor eating area at your facility:
- Find a location that is easily accessible from the building, with some shade available in a relatively level location. Avoid any areas near parking lots or roadways.
- Add a park bench or picnic table. A plastic table can be purchased for as little as $50. If aesthetics are important to your company you may want to invest in a more durable picnic table made of cement or iron with coordinating chairs. Avoid adding chair cushions as those can be difficult to keep clean.
- Add umbrellas to outdoor tables if natural shade is not available.
- Plant trees and shrubs around eating area to insulate it from road or parking lot or to create a more secluded environment.
- Add plants that bring in wildlife such as butterfly bush, black eyed Susan’s or add a bird feeder*. For businesses in the Carolinas, join the Wildlife And Industry Together (W.A.I.T) program! Add an outdoor trash can to keep area litter free.
- If you do not have a Smoke-Free Workplace, designate most of the tables as non-smoking so they can be enjoyed by all employees.
- Request that the cleaning service wipe down the tables everyday. If you do not have a cleaning service supply towels for employees to wipe tables themselves.
* If you add a bird feeder make sure there is an employee willing to keep it full of food since the birds will come to depend on this for their nutrition.