The vending machine has come to be one of the quiet stalwarts of the office. It’s right up there with the water cooler and the WiFi. If you don’t yet have one, then you probably should. If you do have one, you may want to expand your use of it. Here are just some of the benefits having an in-office vending machine can bring.
Keeps staff refreshed
In offices, vending machines still tend to be mainly used for refreshments. Now, however, they’ve progressed way beyond crisps, confectionery, cans, and barely drinkable hot beverages. At a minimum, staff can now expect some healthy snack options plus a decent range of cans, bottles, and high-quality hot drinks, including good coffee.
They may well have access to a lot more. When COVID19 shut down offices, it also shut down their cafes. The offices themselves may have reopened but office life isn’t what it used to be. Many offices are now implementing at least some level of hybrid or even fully remote working. This can make it impractical to run a cafe at all. At the very least, it can mean on-site cafes need to limit their opening hours.
On a more positive note, vending machines can be used to ensure that staff on non-standard hours get to eat well too. Many offices have at least some roles that require people to work outside core hours. These are often public-facing roles (e.g., customer service). This means that the staff performing them can have a major influence on a company’s public image.
Even without that, employers have a duty of care to their employees. That’s a legal principle as well as an ethical one. Making sure your staff can get food and drink when they need it is part of that duty of care. Making sure your staff can get food and drink when they want it helps with recruitment and retention.
Improves hygiene in the office
Another reason why vending machines have been taking over from cafes is that they make it easier to manage hygiene. On-site office cafes bring the same hygiene (and odour) considerations as regular cafes. Offices are, however, not always as able, or as willing to deal with them. Using vending machines is an elegant way to solve the problem.
It’s also worth noting that modern vending machines minimise the need for contact. Most now take contactless payments. Staff may be required to enter their pins occasionally, but this will be the exception rather than the rule. Delivery will also be contactless. That basically means the door to the delivery hatch will open either automatically or in response to movement.
You may also be interested to know that the mechanics of vending machines have improved greatly over the years. Issues with items getting stuck as they’re delivered are now largely a thing of the past.
Promotes health and safety
On a similar note, using vending machines can really help to improve health and safety in the office. The most obvious example of this is using them to serve hot drinks. Having a vending machine can eliminate (or at least vastly reduce) the need for a kettle. That immediately reduces the likelihood of people being scalded or burned.
It also reduces the likelihood of hot water being spilled, creating both a tripping hazard and a scalding hazard. Vending machines also operate much more quickly than kettles. This means there is much less likelihood of people milling around a confined area as they try to organise their drinks.
Similarly, you can put vending machines in places where it would be impractical to have a full kitchen or even kitchenette. If you want vending machines to dispense hot drinks, they’ll need a connection to the water supply. If you don’t, they just need electricity. This is another way to spread out food service (hygienically) and avoid stampedes at peak times.
Encourages staff to take breaks on-site
Both parts of that statement are important. You want your staff to take breaks because it’s important for everyone that they have enough time to recharge. Not only does it improve their productivity and the quality of their work, but it also promotes basic health and safety.
Given that being at a desk is the default in offices, staff often need a reason to get up and go to a rest space. A well-stocked vending machine can help to give them that reason. It can also deal with issues of staff avoiding break rooms because they don’t want to have to deal with the crowds around the kettle and fridge.
You also, generally, want to encourage your staff to take their breaks on-site if possible. That means you have full control over their safety. This can be a benefit even when staff are working standard office hours (i.e., in the daytime). If you have staff working non-standard hours, then it’s arguably an imperative.
Offers massive flexibility in use
Vending machines have no overheads. They require minimal floor space and are easy to manage. This means they can be used in ways that wouldn’t be cost-effective if you had to employ staff.
For example, you could use a small vending machine as the in-office equivalent of a convenience store. You could fill it with the sort of small, non-perishable items people sometimes forget (e.g., tissues). The vending machine probably wouldn’t do a lot of trade. It would, however, probably be highly appreciated for its convenience.
You might also use a vending machine as a service to third parties who visit your premises. Invited guests will generally expect some form of hospitality, even if it’s just water or a hot drink. People visiting your premises in the course of their regular work, by contrast, will not. They might, however, appreciate the ability to pick up something they need (or want) at a reasonable cost.
Another creative way to use vending machines is as a place to hold staff rewards. You could provide staff with points as a reward for high performance. Staff could then choose for themselves how and when to spend their points at the vending machine.
Upgrade your office today
At Johnsons Vending we provide huge range of vending machines, hot drink machines and water coolers. We also provide maintenance service to ensure your vending machine is in good working condition for longer. Contact us today on 01530 243415 or find out more here.