The modern workspace has revolutionized the traditional office environment. Now, employees expect to have a place to relax, talk with coworkers, and get away from the daily cubicle duties. And, the break room – a highly underrated room of the office – is one of the most important aspects of this modern office.
“Happy employees are productive employees. And when it comes to your employees, little things can make a big difference. Creating an employee break room is a small perk that can help refresh minds, build friendships, and boost your bottom line.” – Lifetime.com
Whether you’re starting fresh, need a complete overhaul of the existing space, or simply want to swap out some old office furniture, it’s smart to start with the break room. Not only will it benefit employee morale, but can increase productivity and decrease work related stress. Though there is no perfect break room design, be sure to hit on the important aspects.
Every break room, modern or not, should have a few basic items. From making lunch to meeting with co-workers, the break room is a staple in every office and should have all the necessary supplies; from eating to relaxing, employees should feel welcome and comfortable.
• Tables: For eating and meeting, tables are necessary. Take it a non-traditional route and utilize pub style tables and chairs.
• Couches: Whether you have a kitchen separate from the break room or not, be sure that couches are included. For stressed employees, a couch is a comfort of home that can make all the difference in their work.
• Kitchen area: A fully stocked kitchen, with healthy snack options, silverware, a microwave and fridge is necessary to supporting a healthy work environment.
The overall design and layout is less important than what is actually in the room. However, it’s still critical to creating to right mind set. A well designed break room will encourage conversation and community.
• Keep the kitchen and lounge area close to one another. This allows employees, at all times, the opportunity to be socializing.
• Take advantage of space by utilizing coffee tables for work related reading, as well as newspapers and other magazines.
• Allow the space to be personable. Include items such as an employee bulletin board and use it for items such as calendar of events, employee of the month, office suggestions – this fosters the internal communication.
The modern break room is all about making your employees’ lives better. Companies such as Facebook and Google have made this popular, and Gen Y employees are yearning for the same treatment. Brighthub.com suggests, “Fostering fun interaction helps with team building and refreshes employees so that they can go back to work with lighter hearts and more positive attitudes.”
• Games: Whether you bring in a pool table, ping pong table or gaming system, there should be an element of fun in a successful break room. This is a strategic way for employees to blow off steam or get away from work for a moment.
• Modern seating: Utilizing fun office furniture, such as pod seating, bean bag chairs, and exercise balls will not only be beneficial to the health of your employees, but is a necessary break from the standard desk chair.
Whether it’s time for a total office redesign or you’re just looking to replace some old pieces of furniture, the break room is your starting point. As the meeting place for employees, it should invite relaxation and fun. So, be sure to ask employees what they would like to see, and then utilize best practices to put the design into place.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.