Featured Breakroom: POPSUGAR

Featured Breakroom: POPSUGAR

Dream Kitchen

San Francisco, CA

POPSUGAR strives to inspire, inform, and entertain women around the world through different types of media. That requires engaged and elated employees who love where they work, which is where Marnell Mullarkey, director of operations, shines. When she was given the task of redesigning the company breakroom, she embraced the idea and began working with architects and foodservice providers to turn it into something truly special.

Creating the vision

The goal was to create a large group space where employees could eat together and socialize. The area would double as the venue for company sponsored events, such as happy hour with onsite wine and beer. Marnell wanted it to look custom and quaint without bursting the budget. She asked her service provider about builtin snack rack options and the dimensions needed for the snack baskets and various equipment, such as coffee machines. She was then able to give this information to the architects to include in the design so the equipment fit perfectly.

Designed to be like home

Marnell’s favorite feature of the kitchen is the Cornerstone countertop. It looks like a stone slab product but is less expensive than granite or quartz. The stone gives the kitchen the feel of a high-end home rather than a typical corporate breakroom. Large windows let in natural light, creating a bright and airy space where employees spend a great deal of time. Marnell has noticed a greater percentage of employees eating together in the kitchen rather than at their desks since the remodel. Employees will also use the stone slab countertop, sophisticated subway tile backsplash and bamboo-like laminate flooring for photographing the items they are promoting online.

Balancing the right products

One of the essential elements of the kitchen is the food and drinks. Marnell works closely with the company’s main foodservice provider, Associated Services, to ensure the right balance of products. Associated Services visits the location three times a week to replenish the kitchen. Selections include fresh fruit, individually packaged shelf-stable snacks in decorative baskets, dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, in the double door glass refrigerator, dozens of bottled beverages, single-cup coffee machine, a flavored water dispenser, and much more. For Marnell, one of the most beneficial aspects of working with Associated Services is the influx of new items the company finds for POPSUGAR. Employees love when something new arrives each quarter, eating or drinking a high volume of that item in the first few weeks it is available. This is reflected in the reports Associated Services provides Marnell, which correspond to what POPSUGAR is charged per month for the items. Since the cost and popularity of each item varies, it requires a great deal of work to maximize the budget allowance per employee while also stocking items employees really want. Therefore, Marnell appreciates the reporting and open communication she has with Associated Services. Together they create an atmosphere at POPSUGAR that draws employees in using this one-of-a-kind, cool breakroom.

Expanding lounging areas

There of plenty of spaces for inspiration beyond the large stocked kitchen at Pop Sugar as well. Pod chairs allow employees to hang out and gain a different perspective on projects or assignments. Informal meetings can easily take place in the padded stand alone booths complete with sophisticated lighting and comfortable seating. Employees are encouraged to recharge in cozy nooks with well-designed chairs or opt for standing workstations over traditional desks. The entire look of the building from it’s bright interior with sleek wall art, trendy light fixtures and contrasting, yet simple color scheme set a tone of contemporary elegance that enhances the employee experience.

Company: POPSUGAR, a media and technology company

Location: San Francisco, CA

Employees on location: 280 spread over two floors

Unique attributes: Wine, cold brew coffee and kombucha taps paired with fresh food and individualized snack offerings
A Bevi machine that delivers customizable flavored water on demand

Breakroom size: 1,100 square feet

Best feature: The Cornerstone countertop for a high-end kitchen look

Most important asset: Working with a service provider that understands how to give new and exciting products that maximize the budget per employee

Main service provider: Associated Services based in San Leandro, CA