How to Make the Workplace Feel Like Home

The way we work is changing. Offices that were once filled with cubicles and bustling employees sat empty for close to a year and a half. Staff who could, worked from home while businesses adapted and contemplated next steps. Looking to the future, 65% of employers plan to adopt a hybrid office schedule, but almost 20% of employers don’t have clear plans. What is clear, however, is the importance of relationships for retaining top talent and bolstering team morale. As more workplaces turn to hybrid schedules, where will those relationships form? Our team sat down with industry experts to discuss the future of work, from hybrid location models and physical office footprints to company culture and the role that food plays throughout it all. To learn more and to listen to our panelists firsthand, watch the How to Make the Workplace Feel Like Home Webinar

The Future of Work

Is Hybrid Here to Stay? 

Days Employers Anticipate Employees will Work From Home

Hybrid work, a combination of working from home as well as in the office, is here to stay for the foreseeable future. According to Harvard Business Review, 64.5% of employers anticipate their staff will work from home in some capacity. While health and safety measures accelerated the work-from-home trend, it continues out of convenience, and for some, necessity, with the reasons for pursuing remote work as diverse as the staff members themselves. 

Employee Expectations

“As an employer, you extend benefits to all of your staff. Employees are individualized; each employee will want what’s most important to them based on their life. Your own wants and needs vary depending on your demographic.” -Shannon Kraus, Design Architect, Author and Speaker 

The office and benefits within mean different things to different people. Where one person may prioritize the food and drinks they have access to while in the office, another may prioritize the ability to work from home to be near their children. So how can employers move forward reopening offices while also accommodating these updated needs and expectations? Let’s start by considering how the physical office landscape is changing.

Reopening the Workplace

There is no longer a “one size fits all” office space. Instead, office suites can be customized to accommodate specific needs, often resulting in a smaller footprint more catered to “why” teams come together. While office spaces previously focused on how individuals could best accomplish their own work, the focus is shifting to how teams and people come together. Those who implement a hybrid work strategy use time spent in the office for collaborative work. Getting ready to downsize? 78% of businesses have reduced, or plan to reduce their office footprint. In addition, 25% of hybrid offices have already decreased their office footprint. 

Making the Workplace Feel More Inviting

In addition to the spaces themselves, furnishings are also evolving, from stand up desks and mobile workstations, to built out decks where employees can work in open air. Comfort, choice, and customizations catered to the individual help employees feel valued.

How to Retain Top Talent 

I’ll All About Relationships 

How can you reduce turnover and keep top talent? It’s all about relationships. When employees trust leadership and can count on regular time with their mentor, they are less likely to pursue other opportunities. While salaries and job descriptions are searchable, relationships are harder to shop around. The challenge is prioritizing relationships with hybrid and remote staff. The office is no longer just individuals sitting at desks; it is a hub for relationship building.

In addition to relationships with leadership, relationships between staff have value. People often underestimate the benefits of those serendipitous interactions in the hallway and the positive effects they have on mental health and well being. Burn out, which is a threat to turn over, can be alleviated through relationships and collaboration.

Offering food, business development opportunities, and other social amenities are just some of the ways to get your staff interested in coming back into the office. Still unsure what your staff wants or how to get them excited about returning to the office? “Organizations should not be afraid to ask people what’s important to them,” says Fern Hernberg, HR Expert and Entrepreneur.

The Function of Food in the Workplace

The social nature of food crosses diverse perspectives and backgrounds. We celebrate with a literal breaking of bread as a social contract. While the cubical may be at risk of extinction, common spaces like conference rooms will remain a place to eat, collaborate, and pursue professional development. Food can be used to celebrate, evoke comfort, and allow employees to grow relationships that benefit both them and the business. In addition, beverages such as water, coffee, and kombucha on tap can help leadership build on their relationships with staff and promote loyalty

Marc Payero, Executive Chef at National Football League Headquarters, explains how including meals as part of their in-office perks encourages staff to come to the office, enjoy the space and share time together. “Sometimes people want to get away from their desk and come into the cafe for the food or to connect with each other. We make it so they can find anything they want at any point in the day, making the office a place they want to be.” 

This is a pivotal moment for the future of work. Whether your business adopts a hybrid work model, welcomes staff back full time, or something in between, find creative ways to make the office more inviting, be flexible and be understanding of your employees’ needs. 

Promote Inclusivity and Loyalty with Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Everyone has their reasons when reaching for non-alcoholic beverages. Whether the choice is for the evening or for life, more and more people are embracing the sober curious lifestyle. Venues like Listen Bar in Brooklyn, NY cater to the sober socialite, serving only non-alcoholic beverages. It won’t be long before more and more venues follow suit. Non-alcoholic menu additions can help your bar or restaurant and you don’t have to start from scratch to cater to all types of guests.


Not only do non-alcoholic beverages make your venue more inclusive, they open up an additional revenue stream. Forbes’ “Make Mine a Mocktail” illustrates bartenders’ beliefs that no-proof drinking is a growing trend. It also refutes the idea that non-alcoholic menu items will reduce profit, 

“if you add a non-alc drink, you may get someone who would normally order a Pellegrino, who’s now ordering a sophisticated drink. There’s incremental sales that come from that.” On the West Coast, non-alcoholic drinks ring in $13,000 on average per year compared to $10,500 average in New York, according to Distill’s research.

“The movement is happening, it’s here,” Otto says. “We’ve seen it in data, now we’re seeing it in the press and online searches. The idea of [having more choices] is key to consumers.”


Non-Alcoholic Beverages


Let’s start with the obvious morning pick-me-up: coffee. 64% of Americans consume coffee everyday so if you’re looking to incorporate non-alcoholic options, coffee on tap is a great bet.

Sestra can set up your venue with both hot and cold coffee on tap, allowing your business to track inventory, prevent over pouring, and increase efficiency. 


Kombucha is a fermented tea, rich in probiotics and antioxidants. The bubbly beverage is believed to reduce risk of heart disease and protect against cancer. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a beverage but kombucha gets the job done with refreshing flavors. 


Mocktails are alcohol-free mixed drinks that are a tasty alternative in both flavor and appearance to the typical cocktail. Cocktail connoisseurs as well as beverage beginners can enjoy the fruits, bitters, sodas, and even non-alcoholic liquor that may be incorporated into mocktails.

In venues where alcohol is expected, mocktails, kombucha, and other bubble beverages are great additions that promote inclusivity. But what about situations that typically wouldn’t serve alcohol to begin with? Non-alcoholic beverages can also be used as a perk to promote loyalty and create a memorable experience for employees and guests.


Non-Alcoholic Beverages as a Perk


Health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation are all common workplace benefits that are great for employee attraction and retention. Keep in mind that the little things also add up. Team culture and in-office perks (like beverages on tap) are great benefits that keep your employees happy and promote loyalty. Whether offered in addition to traditional office happy hour beverages or as a workplace-friendly alternative, easy access to coffee and kombucha are becoming more commonplace and appreciated. 


While Sestra has hotel partners who offer free wine on tap at check-in and complimentary happy hours, coffee and kombucha on tap are a great pick-me-up for any time of day. Whether guests are checking in, checking out, or leaving for the day, non-alcoholic beverages on tap can help improve the guest experience. 

Conferences and Events

For the same reasons why alcohol isn’t the only option for the workplace or venue lobbies, conferences and other events can offer non-alcoholic beverages for an inclusive experience.


The options for incorporating non-alcoholic beverages are as numerous as the reasons for offering them and accommodating the many reasons why someone may choose a zero-proof beverage is more than just a trend. 

Are you considering adding alcoholic alternatives to your venue? Contact Sestra to learn how our TapWise dispensers and on-going service can help your venue promote inclusivity and  increase customer loyalty.