Food preferences may vary from person to person, but one thing is for sure: everyone loves a company-sponsored catered lunch.
And while these occasions are a great opportunity for the team to come together and bond over a hearty plate of nachos, these events often put a huge amount of pressure on you, the Office Manager, who must spend hours planning every detail of the meal. From factoring in dietary restrictions to making sure there’s enough clean silverware to go around, there’s more than a few ways that things could go wrong.
That’s why we created this foolproof list of items that you should always have handy in the office kitchen. When the time comes to order catering, you’ll be more than ready for the long line of employees waiting for guacamole. Aside from getting you nominated as “Most Prepared,” these suggestions will also help you minimize both plastic and food waste in the office on a daily basis.
Whether you’ve planned a catered lunch for weeks or just put in a last minute order, here’s 19 things you should have on hand before the trays of Spicy Curry arrive in the lobby.
1. Salt and pepper
Despite the fact that they’re staples in any kitchen, salt and pepper are easy to forget when you’re taking inventory. Pro-tip: put the shakers at the end of the catering line, so people can season their lunch to their liking.
2. Pot holders, oven mitts, and hot pads
Even if you’re getting delivery, moving piping hot trays of lasagna from one side of the kitchen to the other can be quite the pain. Put on some mitts and grab some hot pads to make sure your lunch will be incident-free.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t serve soup with a fork. You just can’t. Keep the lunch line moving by having a variety of serving utensils on hand before that wonton soup even arrives at your door.
4. A bread knife and/or pizza cutter
Whether you’ve ordered a fresh loaf of bread or need to stretch a few more servings out of that pile of pizzas, a bread knife or pizza cutter will do the trick.
5. Sriracha, hot pepper flakes, or harissa
If you have spice-loving office mates, Sriracha, hot pepper flakes or harissa paste will surely satisfy their constant need to feel the burn. (For those who don’t know, harissa is a hot chili pepper paste originating from North Africa.)
6. Silverware, and lots of it!
You can never have enough reusable silverware in your office.
Forks and spoons may not be the first thing on your mind when onboarding 10 new hires, but silverware can really get sparse if you don’t keep track of inventory. Especially if your office has the magical ability to make silverware disappear, you may want to consider taking inventory more frequently.
For larger offices, buying enough reusable silverware for everyone may not be in the budget. In that case, check out these compostable silverware options.
7. Reusable glassware and mugs
As with silverware, it may be impossible for large offices to have enough reusable glasses for everyone. Encourage your co-workers to BYOB, or ‘Bring your own (Reusable) Bottle,’ and stay away from buying red solo cups for every office get together.
Never place another order for seltzer water. Bring Bevi to your office and get unlimited refills of still or sparkling flavored water on demand. Bevi is an eco-friendly alternative to bottles and cans because it allows your office to get customizable refills of flavored water using the reusable glassware right in your office kitchen.
9. Recyclable Napkins
These are relatively inexpensive, and easy to buy and store in bulk. Enlist a few of the office’s eco-warriors to help drop a few hints that these napkins belong in the recycling bin, not the trash.
10. Different sizes and types of compostable plates and bowls
Nothing is more annoying than eating ice cream on a plate. If your office likes to throw surprise sundae parties or eats an inordinate amount of chili, it’s probably in your best interest to have more than just large compostable plates on hand.
And remember: even if they’re compostable or recyclable, one-time use containers in your kitchen should be a last resort. Try to put any reusable dishware out first before breaking out the paper plates.
Finger food is not for everyone. Have a stash of toothpicks in the office kitchen and devour that fancy cheese tray with your cheese-loving co-workers.
12. Compostable straws
Who said happy hour can’t be eco-friendly hour as well? Before you start mixing drinks, be sure to have some 100% biodegradable straws on hand. They look and feel just like the plastic ones, letting you enjoy a guilt-free Thirsty Thursday with your co-workers.
13. Sign up for ezCater and download the app
Getting catered lunch for the office has never been easier. With ezCater, you can filter by food type, budget, and location, and see exactly which caterers are right for your office. Download the app before you do any party planning and explore all the different catering options in your area.
14. Menu card holders, index cards and a sharpie
While bigger catering orders might come with printed menu cards, consider making your own for smaller orders. Grab a few menu card holders, some index cards, and a sharpie, and write a label for each kind of burrito you ordered for the office. This is a quick and easy way to make sure you’ll never have to answer the question “What’s in this?” again.
15. Clearly labelled bins for trash, recycling and compost, and the appropriate bags
When there’s 25 hungry people waiting for tacos, recycling bins will probably be the last thing on your mind. Prepare yourself for the rapid influx of waste by keeping extra bags on hand or adding a second recycling or trash bin to the fold. If you have moveable bins, be sure to set them out in a clearly visible area and label them accordingly.
16. Office reusable containers
With office catering, it’s always better to have too much than too little. Rather than take up an entire shelf of your fridge with a half empty aluminum tray, transfer the food to a few Tupperware containers. Not only will this help to reduce food waste, but it will also help keep the food fresh.
17. Sponges and microfiber cleaning cloths
In most offices, paper towels are the go-to method for cleaning up spill, yet there are many inexpensive, eco-friendly alternatives. Get yourself a stack of microfiber cleaning clothes and a squad of sponges, and attack that chili spill with some eco-minded enthusiasm!
18. Extra seating and/or outdoor friendly seating
You’ve put so much effort into planning this company bonding session — don’t let people eat at their desks! While not every kitchen space can accommodate the entire company, there are several ways to get more people to eat together.
Have some folding chairs, camping chairs or extra benches in storage so your team can eat as an entire unit. If you access to a bit of space outside, you could even purchase a few folding picnic tables, allowing employees to enjoy a catered lunch in the open air.
19. Feedback survey
Keep up with your office’s catering preferences by collecting feedback each time you order out. There are many quick and easy ways to automate the feedback process that can be setup weeks in advance; use a Slack poll, create a brief google form or put together a survey on SurveyMonkey — you’ll thank yourself next time you have to place an order.
Do you have any go-to items in your office kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!
Never place another beverage order.
Meet Bevi, the smart water cooler that never runs out. Our technicians are sent automatically, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
For Executive Assistant and Administrative Professional events, see here.
These 5 conferences for office managers, administrative assistants and executive assistants are much better than the ones you attended last year. We promise.
How many times in 2017 did you leave a conference thinking “that was a huge waste of time”? The answer is too many.
Sometimes hashtags, junk food, and unoriginal icebreakers are just not enough to make a boring conference better.
This year, make unengaging conferences a thing of the past. If you’re an Office Manager, People Ops Manager, Executive Assistant, Human Resources Officer, Culture Champion, or some combination of all these roles, you won’t want to miss these 5 conferences happening in 2018.
1. Admin Bash
Host: Office Ninjas
When: April 25, 2018
Where: Mountain View, CA
“You’ve found your Tribe! Now, it’s time to celebrate together.”
This is not an office management conference. This is a party.
Although it only lasts one day, Admin Bash is jam-packed with networking opportunities that are actually fun and worthwhile. They have also got sweet raffle prizes, amazing catering, the most legendary swag bag you’ve ever seen, hand-picked vendor marketing, and best of all, a massage lounge. It’s like receiving a whole year’s worth of gratitude in just a few hours.
One important thing to note is that the event is exclusively for “career admins.” If you don’t know what those words mean, then you probably shouldn’t register. In fact, they won’t let you: each registration is verified by their staff, so don’t even try to sneak in. (They don’t call them Office Ninjas for nothing…)
Sign-up here today to get the early bird discount, and get ready to party like it’s 2018.
And if you can’t make it out to San Francisco, try attending one of their smaller Admingling events in a city near you. Their 2018 schedule should be posted soon.
Host: live grey
West Coast: March 21–22, 2018 in San Francisco, CA
East Coast: October 23–24, 2018 in Brooklyn, NY
“Connect to the place you lead from.”
Want to make a real change? Practice what you preach. As their unconventional conference model shows, Life@Work takes its commitment to new ways of working together very, very seriously.
Each conference participant is assigned to a team of 20 people; together, they will experience the conference as a unit. The team will act as a place to share personal experiences, have discussions, and do various kinds of team exercises, either within the team or in collaboration with other teams. Life@Work is nothing short of a personal journey, and it will leave you feeling more connected than ever to the human side of your team, your employees, and yourself.
While the Early Bird ticket sales have long since ended, there are still Advanced Special and General Event tickets available for purchase. Take a look at the San Francisco or Brooklyn tickets for more information on pricing. (Note: you don’t have to be a career admin to participate.)
3. Culture Summit
Host: Culture Summit
When: July 10–12, 2018
Where: San Francisco, CA
“Culture isn’t an HR strategy anymore, it’s an everyone strategy.”
Pictured right: the Bevi team at Culture Summit 2017.
Whether your office suffers from rampant employee disengagement or you’ve been nominated for a ‘Top 10 Places to Work’ award, the Culture Summit has something to offer. A true Culture Champion knows that culture is not built on perks, but on strategically-planned workplace initiatives and programs. Each talk and workshop at the Summit is designed to leave you with concrete, actionable items that you execute upon returning to your office.
Have a few culture champions at work you would like to bring along? Good news: you don’t need to be a career admin to participate. Everyone is invited. So grab an enthusiastic co-worker, and get ready to build a scalable, thriving culture in your office.
While tickets are not yet on sale, sign-up here to receive an email notification when their Super Early Bird tickets become available.
4. Thrive Summit
Host: Virgin Pulse
When: April 9–11, 2018
Where: Miami Beach, Florida
“Color your culture yours.”
Geared primarily towards those who work in HR or People Operations, the 2018 Thrive Summit is a 3-day adventure into the latest data and trends in employee engagement and wellbeing. With a high-profile line-up of speakers, the conference is focused on helping you — the employer — make your employees feel like people instead of numbers. What will the future of work look like? There’s only one way to find out.
And it’s all happening in a little-known city by the name of Miami Beach. Party time.
While the full conference agenda is not yet available, Early Bird tickets will be on sale until February 1st. Reserve yours here.
5. Executive Leadership Support Forum Series
Host: A branch of Q1 Productions
Where: Most major cities
When: See dates and locations here
Being an Executive Assistant is anything but easy.
The Executive Leadership Support Forum Series is half a professional development course, half a networking opportunity designed to address the specific needs and aspirations of EAs. Learn how to improve your product management ability and leadership development skills by attending academic-style seminars and comparing notes with your peers.
There’s still time to register for the upcoming forums happening in Houston and Chicago. Register in advance to get a discounted ticket.
These conferences are the best of the best, so make sure you sign up ASAP or you’ll be stuck going to the same roundtables as last year. Don’t you remember how fun those were? (Nope, neither can we.)
Looking for more ways to be the greatest office hero there ever was? Get Bevi, the smart water cooler with still, sparkling, and flavored water that never runs out.
Oh, and did we mention you’ll never have to restock the office fridge again? True story.
Not all company growth requires a brand new office; often times, a few adjustments to the current office layout can make a big impact, ultimately helping your space become both more productive as well as accommodating of future growth.
For quickly growing startups like Bevi, each round of hiring presents a challenge to the delicate balance of the current floor plan. Teams begin to outgrow their original areas, and suddenly 7 people are sitting in a space that was designed for 2. And since many startups have an accelerated hiring timeline, this puts a lot of pressure on Office Managers, HR, or Facilities Managers to change the office layout quickly and seamlessly. No matter what the occasion, rearranging an office space can be stressful — especially when current employees are not 100% on board.
We’ve got your back. We interviewed our own all-star Office Manager, Claire, to put together this list of 11 things to do before, during, and after a change to the office layout. We can’t promise that the office won’t mutiny, but at least you’ll have a contingency plan if they do (see #3 for some of Claire’s tips).
1. Get key stakeholders on board
Regardless of your company’s size, getting key stakeholders on board is the first step towards getting the entire office to buy into the changes. Key stakeholders are more likely to recognize how space adjustments will benefit the company as a whole and can communicate this directly with their respective teams. Especially if you work for a larger company and don’t know everyone by name, employees are more likely to cooperate with someone they know and trust.
2. Use the layout change as an excuse to check in and ask what each team needs
Another strategy for getting each team excited about the change-up is to actively incorporate their goals and needs into the new office schematic. Whether informally in the hallway or at an all-hands meeting, check in with each team to see what they like about their current format and what they would change. By proactively discussing their needs and concerns, you are helping deflect any dissent in the long term.
3. Establish a trial period and streamlined feedback system
No matter how much you plan, there will always be something to work out after the rearranging is done. For this reason, it’s good to establish a trial period, so that in one or two weeks time you can reassess whether the new layout is working out.
During the trial period, have your employees send feedback to a designated Slack channel or survey. This way, folks have a space to express their concerns and you have the ability to mute their reactions until the trial period comes to a close.
If you’re really getting bombarded with comments or requests, ask your own manager to openly address (and shut down) any opposition. It’s always nice to have someone on your side to help deflect any whining — it really gets old after awhile.
4. Keep open positions in the hiring pipeline in mind
If you have the opportunity to make a change, think big! Chances are there are several open positions at your company, so think about how your desks will be populated once new employees arrive. Consider syncing-up with HR or senior management to find out the teams the company is looking to expand over the next quarter (or year) so you minimize the amount of times you’ll have to reorganize the office.
5. Put yourselves in a visitor’s shoes
Whether they’re investors or user testing groups, visitors expect to see people hard at work upon entering your office. Put your company’s best foot forward by making sure the teams closest to your front door (or visitor entrance, if you have a larger company) are typically in the office.
Here at Bevi HQ, we have a stellar hardware team that spends a good portion of their time in our engineering lab a few floors down. Our Office Manager Claire had the foresight to situate the hardware team in the back corner of our office, so our visitors would never be greeted by empty desks.
6. Constant communication before, during, and after
Similar to #2 and #3, constant communication is key. Between Slack messages and email updates, be sure to remind your employees to pack up their belongs 1 week and 1 day before the move as well as on the day of.
Once the layout has been changed, it’s a good idea to send an early morning reminder with the new seating chart and instructions on how to inquire about any missing belongings. Our Office Manager Claire made sure everyone stayed in the loop by giving email and in-person reminders in the days leading up to the reshuffling.
7. Sketches, diagrams, and maps, oh my!
X marks the spot. Before moving anything in your office, sketch out a few options for a new office set-up. Pro-tip: always make sure they are to scale!
Office Manager Claire breaks down Bevi HQ’s most recent layout change.
If you consider yourself visually or spatially inept, ask a designer or engineer to help you realize your vision. They might even have some handy software that can help make testing different layouts much more efficient than using a ruler and graphing paper. For example, Eliza, one of Bevi’s co-founders, helped Claire model different versions of the office without moving a single desk.
8. Strategically pick a time when the office will be nearly empty
While you will need an extra set of hands to make the rearrangement happen, less is more when it comes to having people in the office during all of the shuffling.
Aside from staying late on an arbitrary weekday, the day before a long weekend or holiday is often the perfect time to make your move. Back in November, our superstar Office Manager Claire planned to change things around in the office on the day before Thanksgiving. It worked out well as there were a few folks in the office to lend a hand and enough room to reposition the furniture without disturbing anyone. Within a few hours, everything was readjusted and ready for the new hires starting the following Tuesday — myself included!
Plus, let’s be honest: when the majority of people are out of the office, those who do come into work often look for fun side projects to work on. These people are your biggest asset on the day of the move.
9. Set aside time for furniture assembly
A new layout often means new furniture. But don’t be fooled: you’re going to need a screwdriver and hammer before your furniture looks as shiny and perfect as it did on Ikea’s website.
10. Four hands are better than two
Even the office hero needs a little help once in a while. Rather than trying to rough it by yourself, enlist a few helpers to move or assemble desks and chairs while you double check the diagram of the new set-up. For medium-sized or large companies, you’re better off hiring movers to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.
11. Label like your life depends on it
With just over 30 people working in Bevi HQ, the office is certainly on the smaller side. Nevertheless, a few things did get lost in our most recent round of office rearrangements. Take it from us: labeling is everything.
Whether with masking tape, printed labels, sharpies, or cute cat stickers, make sure everyone clearly labels the box containing their belongings before anything gets touched. You’ll thank yourself later.
Looking for more ways to keep your office happy and healthy? Meet Bevi, the smart water cooler designed to make your life as office manager that much easier.
Request a free flavor tasting for your office here.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.