Bare cupboards and empty coffee pots are enough to make anybody frown.

Whether it’s food or drink, U.S. workers usually have to leave the office to fill their bellies. The downside: it hinders productivity.

So says a survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples. The survey suggests that having a fully stocked kitchen, with food, coffee and amenities, can lead to more content and productive employees. This is part of the secret to virtual office productivity. When workers work from home from a virtual office, they have food and drink readily available and can continue checking e-mails even while they gnosh.

According to the survey, 73 percent of workers say a well-stocked kitchen would make them happier at work, while 57 percent say that kitchen amenities could lead to a more productive workforce. That doesn’t mean you need to do major construction. Simple additions like a small refrigerator, microwave and pantry could encourage employees to stay in the office for breaks rather than venturing out, saving everyone time and money.

“Making small investments in the company kitchen can lead to significant benefits in any workplace,” says Lisa Hamblet, vice president for the facility solutions and services business of Staples Advantage. “Our recent survey found that 72 percent viewed the office kitchen as more than just a place to get coffee. To them, it represents a place for impromptu meetings, as well as a space to help keep energy levels high. This provides an opportunity for employers to create a workplace kitchen that boosts their workforce’s productivity and camaraderie.”

Recharging Your Batteries
About 80 percent of respondents agree it’s important to get away from their desks periodically to stay focused. Let’s put this into perspective. About 85 million people leave the office routinely to get coffee. Respondents estimate each trip taking 20 to 40 minutes, equating to more than two billion minutes each day, or 10.6 billion hours per year, of lost productivity. That’s amazing!

“Although our survey found people are stepping out from time to time, overall, employees are working longer hours. With staff spending more time in the office, employers should consider making it a more comfortable environment,” concludes Hamblet. “Our survey suggests that simple and easy improvements can make all the difference from an OK day to a great day at the office.”

How to Create a Happy Kitchen
Here are some Staple tips for creating a healthy, happy kitchen that will keep employees in the office and help drive greater satisfaction—and productivity.

Provide several beverage options
: Consider adding coffee, tea, flavored water, or hot chocolate to your cabinets.

Offer a wide range of snacks: More than 85 percent say they want healthy snacks and beverages added to their office kitchen.

Supply first aid materials:
Your office first aid kit should include everything needed in case of an accident and should be kept in a central location, easily accessible to all employees.

Stay clean and healthy: Offer a broad assortment of cleaning supplies that employees can utilize to keep the kitchen and their personal work spaces clean and germ-free.

Make the environment a priority: Supply recycling bins and “green” supplies. Protecting the environment was noted as a priority for those surveyed, and 96 percent would like to see recycling bins in the office.