Giving your employees a welcoming outdoor space to access during work hours can improve their performance on the job and their overall wellbeing. A well maintained outdoor space can also be a great first step towards office sustainability, a growing necessity in today’s business world.
The right picnic table (or tables) can become the focal point of this outdoor space. It gives your employees a comfortable place to relax that facilitates conversation, helping them connect over more than just work.
Here are five questions to help you pick the right picnic table for your office patio:
1. How much space do you actually have?
The last thing you want to do is buy a picnic table that doesn’t actually fit in your space. Measure the length and width of the area where you plan to put it before you start looking.
If you want to have multiple picnic tables, make sure you measure a separate space for each one. You’ll also want to leave at least a foot of room between them so people can pass through the space comfortably. During the planning stage, make sure you leave enough room and space for outdoor recycling bins as well. The best way to keep an office patio clean is to make sure there’s an easy method to dispose the trash.
2. How many employees do you need to be able to sit at each table?
As a general rule, round and octagonal picnic tables can seat more people than similarly sized rectangular tables. Most picnic tables can sit between 4-8 people. Longer tables are also available for places like camps.
You should always leave space for one or two extra people. This ensures that everybody will be able to sit without encroaching on anyone else’s space.
3. Do you need it to be ADA compliant?
ADA compliant picnic benches are specifically designed to accommodate wheelchairs. These are worth investing in even if you don’t currently have any employees who use mobility devices, as it will make your space more welcoming to future employees with disabilities.
Of course, many offices and outdoor spaces have limited or nonexistent accessibility. If your space is already inaccessible, buying an ADA compliant table is pointless (unless you’re thinking about moving to an accessible space in the near future).
4. What material do you want it to be made out of?
There are five materials commonly used to make picnic tables: metal, concrete, wood, recycled plastic, and aluminum.
Metal picnic tables are incredibly durable, featuring specialized finishes to protect them from the weather. Many also feature perforated holes, allowing water to go right through the table and benches instead of creating puddles. These holes also prevent them from absorbing too much heat.
Concrete picnic tables are even more durable than metal ones, but they’re also impossible to move without a forklift. This means you won’t be able to get them into some spaces at all, and once you’ve placed them, they’re not going anywhere for a long time.
Wooden picnic tables provide a traditional feel aesthetic that blends in perfectly with outdoor spaces. Modern ones are also pressure treated to increase their weather resistance.
Recycled plastic picnic tables are typically made to look like wooden tables, though some are obviously plastic and coated with bright colours. They’re also more affordable and more durable than wooden tables.
Aluminum picnic tables are incredibly lightweight, making it easy to move them around whenever you need to. They’re also quite easy to clean and typically more affordable than picnic tables made with heavier metals.
5. What is your budget?
Budget is the last item on this list because you should never sacrifice quality to save a few bucks, but it still needs to be considered. You should also know what you’re willing to sacrifice to get the higher quality table. Can you make it smaller than you originally planned and still give everyone space? Can you choose aluminum or recycled plastic instead of metal or wood?
You should also be sure to check out several different sources before giving up on your ideal picnic table. Prices vary greatly from one place to the next, and you never know where you’ll find a great deal.