Angshuman Bhattacharya, IOCL
The author is a law graduate and management professional in walks of life, with a little bend of mind in Creative Writing.


Individuals have been apprehensive of community lunch in Canteen or socializing in the workplace throughout the pandemic. The office space is seen as an indispensable place of work, whereas the canteen is a place where people merely join for lunch or breakfast. The general assumption goes that the workspace must have all the convenience of telephone, desktop, and filing cabinets for smooth business operation, while the Canteen, located centrally, is merely to provide catering services. Conversely, in this fast-evolving, vibrant globe, the definition of office is changing continuously. All spaces available in every nook and cranny of the organization are utilized for multiple purposes of doing business. The synergy of workstation and food station is similarly being used interchangeably. 

In a continual process industry like the Refinery, the firm never sleeps. Thus, the late evening shift and night-shift workers find less opportunity to interact with the leadership and other team members in the organization. All the general meetings and developmental workshops are mainly organized during the day, which is construed as a regular business hour. Individuals who operate at night shift often fight with their body clock, combating their food habits and going to sleep during the daytime. These shift staff members constantly feel themselves missing out in the team, thereby losing the feeling of belongingness. 

In one experimental initiative, a major Refinery developed employee connections by changing some available workspace arrangements, carving out areas for alternate use as brainstorming space. These spaces also served coffee with crumbs. The design of the changing workspace and the team engagement initiative made it possible to connect with the night shift employees, which is vivid in these Café Manthan workstations.


Employees have increasingly avoided the industrial Canteen in huge process plants throughout the pandemic. More and more, office workers who are currently forced to sit at their work desks all day long prefer to take some morsel, sandwich or rolls, at their work stations, al-desko, rather than crossing the doorsill, going to central Canteen. 

Off late, individuals chose to take a time-out, as practicable, preferring to the in-dining canteen for a proper, hot meal. However, what a moment of pleasure it will undoubtedly be if the sector can offer high-quality hangout opportunities that facilitate socializing across the table, creating team bonding. Humans are obviously bad judges of the period of time. Minutes seem to drag when one is bored, weary or depressed, yet they sweep by for those who are busy, pleased or socializing. As a speculative strategy, a major Refinery tried to seize this golden opportunity of fleeting moments by engaging the people visiting a transformed space, Manthan-Café’ serving coffee and crumbs.

From a utility store to Café Manthan in Captive Power Plant 

As you happen to ascend the narrow flight of stairs in the CPP unit of this major Refinery, you can’t help but stop over the refuel mind station “Café-Manthan”. The sizzling sound and aroma with tables spread over will definitely raise your inquisitive soul to devote yourself for the purpose. For those who can hear the sound of waterfalls from the adjoining cooling tower but find it difficult to see the forest for the trees, the room Manthan is a viewpoint for showing a bigger picture. 

As you take your seat in the café, you duly notice the expresso brewing on one end, while the little table for washing glasses or draining jugs at the other, the plate and china on the table, while gridiron on the other. With your mouth watering on one end, your little grey cells are being truly tested in a leap of imagination for the problem-solving on the other.

There is something specific in the air and manner though you could hardly describe what it is. Moreover, you cannot divest yourself of the idea that the other table mates have assembled rather than mere eating and drinking.

The healthy-looking buff waistcoat faces of service boys will serve you with an amiable smile. The grace speaks, applause echoes, the clatter of plates and dishes begins, and everyone appears highly gratified in this small storeroom converted to Café Manthan.

From a utensil washroom to Café Manthan in Workshop

In another part of this Refinery, from the workshop of the plant, there produced a tinkling sound, so merry and excellent humoured, that it suggested the idea a person, somewhere functioning seam making a piece of positive music. Bordered by all the steel iron, guys who stood their lathes manning the workshop there stayed nested in a little area called Manthan-café. The sincere fellows’ anchor there, tweeting as well as reconciling everything from jolting shaft, rods, irons to sandwiches as well as drinks. The sounds of the workshop benches, devices, bands, as well as wheels, and all other tearing sounds are adequately removed, locked out from the Café, to blend right into a hectic hum, intermixed periodical with chinks and smacks. 

The cafe, the switchboard of the workshop, gives healthy and useful air, nurturing a feel-good element with something to chew on. 

From a staircase landing to Café Manthan in the Technology Building

In another corner of the Refinery, the visitors who enter the technology building will walk into officers groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their warded heads against walls of computer, with serious faces, as players might. One such makeover in the nooks and crannies of the building, on the landing of the staircase, the billboards of “Think Big” stands tall in Manthan-café. 

As the fog of gravity hangs heavy in the building, the Manthan cafe brings in the ray of sunshine and joy through the stained-glass windows to light up the day in the cosy corner of the technology building. 


For any type of process sector, especially in the Oil & Gas industry, the firm never sleeps. The general concept of offices meant for working and cafeterias for eating is changing nowadays and changing fast for multiple utilities of every nook and cranny in the available workspaces. The objective of making spaces multifunctional, as well as developing employee connections, is a good example in this transformation of workstations. Transformation of whatever little unutilized space is available in any corner, the Café-Manthan is a better choice to satiate and align the shift employees connect with the organization, cardinally.

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