Last week, Japanese beverage maker Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. unveiled its new workplace vending machine that is designed to nudge corporate consumers towards social interactions within the workplace—something that many of us are out of practice with thanks to the Covid-19 health crisis.
How can a vending machine facilitate conversations in offices and factories? By dispensing free drinks when two employees scan their ID cards at the same time. The client firms cover the costs of the drinks in exchange for the restoration of interactions between colleagues and regeneration of creativity in the workplace.
The beverage manufacturer calls this special vending machine, which still functions as a normal vending machine when no IDs are scanned, the “company president’s treat,” and plans to install them in 100 companies by next year, with their initial focus aimed at workspaces in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
To control the number of free beverages an employee can receive per day, the machines can be customized to either limit the max quantity of beverages that one individual can scan for or be set to only offer the free drink service between certain hours or on specific days of the week, among other modifications.
Office supply manufacturer Kokuyo Co. has had the machine installed for a trial at its Tokyo office in February, and so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Out of the Kokuyo users surveyed, 97.8 percent reported that the vending machine was fun to use and provided a good conversation starter, which in turn boosted morale around the workplace.