15 Sept 2016
Chill-out Work Zones
Companies are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining staff morale in the workplace. A key way of ensuring this has been the introduction of a dedicated “chill-out” zone into the office environment. While many businesses allocate such spaces from their own resources, a number of companies in the Chinese mainland have outsourced this requirement to third parties that specialise in providing such facilities.
Respect for staff is among the most sought-after attributes for job-seekers assessing potential employers. Providing a dedicated relaxation area is now considered key to maintaining employee peace-of-mind. This typically comes in the form of an informal space where workers can unwind, chat, brainstorm creative solutions to work problems and socialise with colleagues.
In some cases, however, the provision of such a space may be too expensive or require excessive management coordination and input. In such a scenario, many companies are turning to specialist third-party businesses to run tailored chill-out zones for their employees.
These designated spaces – with such facilities as audio equipment, coffee machines, water coolers, refrigerators, comfortable seating, crockery, refreshments, house plants, storage areas and executive toys – are seen as highly desirable. To cater for business discussions and project development, these areas would offer Wi-Fi, photocopying, printing and laptop facilities.
Some companies also specify a themed approach to their on-site chill-out facilities. Examples include a bamboo grove look, a Bronze Age feel, a luxury motorcycle motif or animated character-related décor.
A typical contractual arrangement between a business and its appointed chill-out room management company tends to be broken down into two specific areas of responsibility. One arrangement involves the management company providing basic essentials, including water and refreshments, as well as to undertake all required maintenance and repair duties.
In less tangible terms, the management company's remit also extends to the more creative and fluid elements of the chill-out zone. This includes input into when and how to update any required theme, any changes to the snack menu or any alterations to background music played within the lounge area.
Factors to Consider
Companies considering inviting a third-party chill-out room service supplier should consider its key requirements. First, does it want the chill-out lounge to be situated within its existing premises or at an external site? Secondly, it needs to decide whether a space should be solely for use by its own employees or whether it is willing to share with other businesses.
There is also the matter of decoration, with companies having the option to choose from a range of existing templates or opting for bespoke décor. Similarly, any required equipment can be either purchased or rented. Additional elements can also be continually added-on as the available facilities are refined.
Hong Kong businesses looking to extend their services into chill-room management have several advantages over their mainland counterparts. With a considerable heritage in leisure management, an understanding of the importance of maximising employee fulfillment – and a familiarity with the latest in business and recreational audio-visual technology – such businesses are ideally positioned to capitalise on this rapidly-expanding market.
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