Post Move Water Cooler Conversations – Ooops, Did You Remember to Move the Water Cooler?

By Chris Cooks, contributing columnist

It may not be a core business activity, but probably one of THE most emotive subjects in the new office – will be the coffee machines, the vending service and the water coolers.

One of the most important parts of any busy day – is that life saving cup of coffee when the phones have not stopped ringing or your boss is driving you nuts with more work. All too often, when companies move location, one of the things that does not receive enough time and attention is the location and planning of where the coffee machines and break areas will be. It is really important to make the machines easily accessible to all staff, in areas where a quick break is possible and adds value to your day.

Power sockets for EACH machine and compatible filtered mains water supplies (for the hot drinks machines and water coolers) need to be planned for – and network points if you want your vending to run off a hard-wired cashless transaction system. If your vending is to be run off a Wi-Fi network (for cashless transactions, machine auditing and service call-outs), then you need to check that the coffee machines are placed within the range of routers etc.

Make sure your vending service provider understands the time-scales of the move, where the new machines will be located, the service level requirements and the all important service call processes (FM, Helpdesk etc).

Storage space on the new site for vending/water cups, ingredients and stock is also very useful for the vending service provider, otherwise your stock availability is always subject to loading bay access, delivery schedules and traffic – which is not helpful if you run out of product!

The service provider will need plenty of resource before ‘go live’ day to ensure that when the staff arrive on the first day, they can be fed and watered whilst settling into their new work stations.

Your service provider should be included in at least some of your mobilisation/planning meetings, soi that they can be made aware of the time-scales they will need to work to. They will also need to access to the new building (or plans) to provide site specific Risk Assessments and Method Statements to cover the installation and ongoing service supply to your offices.

Lastly, if you are ordering new machines (rather than re-locating existing machines) then make sure the delivery lead time from the placement of your order with your supplier is realistic – most manufacturers build to order these days and don’t hold expensive stock in warehouses any more.

It’s an old Chinese proverb, but very apt when moving offices:
“When planning for a year, plant corn.
When planning for a decade, plant trees.
When planning for life and events, train and educate people.”

Chris Cooks is Managing Partner at Optimus Associates – Vending Cost Management & Advisory Services in London, United Kingdom. Email: Telephone: +44 (0) 7973 806661

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