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What’s grey, green and shiny - and came out of the Staff Survey?

19 Aug 2014

It’s the state-of-the-art kitchen provided for staff on the Lower Ground Floor of the John Owens Building

Lower Ground Floor kitchen, John Owens Building

With its drab appearance, lack of a dining table and the occasional visit from pests, the old kitchen provided a recipe for major dissatisfaction amongst staff in the offices which used it: Communications and Marketing, PSS IT, Development and Alumni Relations, and Finance.

In July, change was on the menu when the kitchen was closed and contractors stripped the room back to its bare shell, removing all traces of the old, tired facilities. The kitchen underwent a thorough cleaning and holes were stopped up to discourage cockroaches and mice.

Then in came stylish wall and floor cupboards with glossy grey doors, black granite-effect worktops, a green glass splashback, a tap dispensing boiling and chilled water, two sinks, two microwave ovens and two floor-to-ceiling refrigerators.

Turquoise benches and a long white refectory table completed the facilities and now provide a pleasant place where colleagues can enjoy sitting and eating or just chatting.

Underfoot, striking wood-effect vinyl planks have replaced the old grey vinyl floorcovering, while the overall look of the kitchen has been enhanced by the installation of new lighting.

And it’s not just good looks: the new kitchen also comes with excellent environmental credentials. The kitchen manufacturer is FSC certified, the new flooring is fully recyclable and contains an average of 40% recycled material, and the refrigerators emit warning beeps if their doors are left open for too long.

The transformation has been achieved on a shoestring budget, but has produced a clean, bright space where there’s no jostling for space at microwaves and fridges and where colleagues are happy to sit and eat at lunchtime. With two sinks available, dirty crockery and cutlery is more likely to be washed and dried immediately, leaving no waste to attract pests.

Among the users of the refurbished kitchen are Lorraine Elphick and Mary Caulfield, who work in the new Procurement Hub in G.033, John Owens Building. Lorraine said:

"We really appreciate this wonderful kitchen/dining area: the area is welcoming, bright, fresh, and modern, and the facilities are excellent. With two sinks and two microwaves, two large capacity fridges and a vast amount of cupboard and drawer space, the kitchen can now accommodate quite a number of people at the same time. And the functional table and long benches provide a welcome break away from our office desk space. It is also great to see all the re–cycling bins available.

"We'd like to thank everyone who was responsible for providing this excellent ‘comfort stop’ area."

Congratulations to the Directorate of Estates and Facilities for serving up another success in response to the Staff Survey 2013.

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