Facebook's employees are well-fed. Very well-fed. Staffers at the company's New York office have the pleasure of eating at Desimone's, a spacious dining hall that has been operating since 2014. Let's be clear: Desimone's is no ordinary corporate break room.
Chef Nathaniel Eckhaus, who has cooked in the frenetic kitchens of high-end New York restaurants like Blue Smoke and Eleven Madison Park, dishes out breakfast, lunch and dinner five days a week at the location. He explained that it's intentionally designed “like a high school cafeteria, only in an all-grown-up format,” to cultivate connection and satisfy all kinds of appetites. The employees actually sit together over their meals and talk to one another.
“Desimone's has transpired into an almost work-free zone during meal periods, where coworkers just get to catch up over really good food,” the chef said. “Best of both worlds, in my eyes.” Truly. Anyone can talk about food. Especially when there's an egg-and-hamburger masterpiece smothered in cheese and sandwiched between a glazed doughnut. The seating at Desimone's is arranged just like a school cafeteria, encouraging face-to-face conversations — in real life, not through a device. This turns out to be a wise investment for the company: Studies show that strong social ties at the office increase an employee's performance and passion for her work.
Desimone's helps New York Facebookers turn their colleagues into real-life friends.
Eckhaus' model doesn't just encourage fun times; it could help transform great workers into excellent ones. Research shows that taking regular breaks during the workday fosters creativity and focus, and that feeling relaxed can help people make insightful connections. At Facebook, stress-relief is built in to the office infrastructure, which may contribute to the company's success. A Harvard study found that for every dollar a company spends on wellness programs, it makes back $3.27 in the form of lower health costs, and the equivalent of $2.73 in reduced absenteeism.
The cafeteria set-up also forces diners to get up and move a little, if just from the hot bar to the waffle station. That may sound trite, but short walking breaks can help combat the damages caused by sitting all day.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced last year that the company's splashy internal motto, “move fast and break things,” would change to “move fast with stable infra.”