When designing any interior office building it’s important to remember the importance of the break room. The most successful companies offer inviting break rooms that employees are attracted to, thus serving as a great place to unwind and collaborate with colleagues.
Hardworking employees are fueled by great workspaces, and that includes the place they go to take their break or fill up on coffee. Unfortunately, a number of studies have shown that most businesses do not provide necessary breaks to fuel creativity and productivity.
A break room should serve as a space where employees can forge friendships, collaborate ideas, rest and recharge so that they are fully ready to head back to the office and get work done. A great break room can boost employee moral as well as office culture, creating a place people want to work and therefore strive to do their best every single day. Companies are tapping into this research to create awesome break rooms that prove effective and valuable investments.
1. Create A Space People Gravitate Towards
Prior to Bain and Company moving their headquarters to Boston, they asked their employees what they wanted out of their new office space. Most everyone asked for more space to collaborate and share ideas, and that’s exactly what they got. Bain and Company created a light and bright space where employees eat lunch, chat over lattes and can even play a game of pool. The results? The company’s employees have helped their clients outperform the stock market 4 to 1.
The key is to create a break room that attracts people and inspires them to get together, speak collaboratively and form valuable friendships. As a result, everyone benefits including business productivity and profitability. On the contrary, if the break room is not inviting employees will avoid it even when their bodies are screaming for a break. As a result, they create half-hearted work and watch the clock until it’s time to go home.
2. Offer Additional Perks To The Break Room
You’ve got a fridge, microwave, sink and some tables—what more could your break room need? Many offices are now adding additional perks to visiting the break room, like yoga classes that help ease anxiety and refuel desire to do great things. When designing a break room create one with enough space to offer engaging activities like this.
3. Remind People Of Home
The break room should feel like home, cozy and relaxing. Just like people gather in the kitchen at home, employees gather in the break room to chat, unwind and go over important ideas. Adding coffee bars, long picnic tables, couches and other comforts are great ways to make a space more inviting. You want employees to associate that homey feeling with work in order to maintain long standing working relationships and a culture in which employees don’t want to leave.
4. One Break Room For All
Everyone at the company should share the same break room. Avoid creating different break rooms for different levels of positions. This creates a closed off culture with a definite hierarchy, which can turn employees off and remove the potential for valuable collaboration.
5. Provide Free Stuff
Everyone loves free stuff and employees that work hard for you day in and day out definitely deserve it. Provide coffee, snacks, water and other things that fit within your budget to maintain higher employee moral. Certain days of the week could be designated to certain sweet treats—like Friday donuts or Wednesday croissants. It’s the little pleasures in life that keep people going and looking forward to the day ahead.
6. Extend The Break Room Outside
If space permits, add seating areas, tables and umbrellas outside to encourage employees to get some fresh air. Simply stepping outside for even just 15 minutes can reenergize employees so that they are ready to tackle the next thing on their to-do list.
7. Ask For Employee Input & Always Strive For Improvement
Provide a space where employees can share their ideas about what would make the break room a happier and more inviting space. Take these ideas into consideration and when you notice the same idea popping up over and over it might be time to incorporate it into company break room policy. That’s exactly what Google does—in fact, they have an entire department “People Operations Department” dedicated to improving workplace experiences, just like they do for products. As a result, they continually earn the top spot for Best Place to Work in the US.