When FedEx opened their new fulfillment center in Humble, Texas, they knew they needed a breakroom setup that could keep up with their 800+ employees. The facility is state-of-the-art and everything about it is well thought out – from the futuristic sorting equipment to a custom-made football field for employees to enjoy cornhole or games of catch. When it came to planning their breakroom, FedEx knew it needed to be as engaging as the rest of their facility.

“We’re a really big team…(and) this facility is brand new,” said Allison Whaley, senior office administrator at FedEx. Allison saw other FedEx facilities using a micro market concept in their breakrooms, and she knew the setup was right for their new building.

“When we first came to this building and we were talking about the design and what we wanted to do…we absolutely had to have a market,” said Allison. 

“We wanted to do something different,” said Paul Kurhela, senior manager at FedEx. Paul helped organize the buildout in a different facility that gave Allison the inspiration to bring the micro market concept to the new FedEx building. In Paul’s experience, traditional vending wasn’t enough for his employees, and micro markets proved to be the solution to achieving a more engaged workforce.

So what is a micro market, and why did the FedEx team need one in their new location?

A micro market is a modern breakroom setup that consists of a self-checkout kiosk, snack racks, and coolers that contain a diverse selection of snacks, drinks, and full meals. With a micro market, employers can offer a breakroom that satisfies employee cravings without the need for them to leave the facility.

“They come in here and they’re blown away,” said Allison, “There are all these options: fresh salads, fruit, sandwiches. It’s like going to the grocery store – self-checkout.”

Easy access to delicious snacks, drinks, and meals right down the hall is an obvious perk for employees, but there are tons of benefits from management’s perspective, too. “It definitely ties in with employee engagement, boosting morale, and having your employees stay here to eat,” said Allison.

Micro markets are a clear win-win for FedEx. Employees enjoy the modern breakroom stocked with their favorite products, while management benefits from happier, more engaged, and productive employees. 

So what’s next for FedEx? More micro markets. “Every item, everything we have set up, how we have it, (FedEx) wants to mirror it through the whole district,” said Paul. 

While the breakroom isn’t the most obvious place to start, adopting a modern solution like micro markets can have far-reaching benefits for an entire organization.

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