Creating the Best Break Room for Your Business: How to Do It & Why
This isn't just a coincidence. The modern view concerning company break rooms is about producing a workforce that is higher quality and more productive.
Here we'll talk about why creating a great place for employees to relax is more than just a nice thing to do.
What Are Break Rooms?
It's not mandated by law that a company create a space for its employees to take breaks, yet the vast majority of companies across North America have something resembling a break room, from full cafeterias to a simple office lunchrooms.
If employees work non-stop throughout their entire shift and don't have a place to unwind, then they'll hang around the office distracting their coworkers and causing the entire office to become less productive.
Break rooms exist to give coworkers a place to eat lunch, get to know their colleagues and relax over the course of the day, but historically, office break rooms have been relatively unremarkable, marked by poor lighting, institutional furniture, and little to no food and beverage options. Many companies made decisions about their break rooms on the misguided logic that if break rooms are too nice, employees will be apt to spend more time there than time spent working.
The trend of making break rooms a more appealing place to spend time is due to a change in this thought process, and a realization that a great break room encourages productivity rather than hurting it.
Why Upgrade Your Break Room?
You may not realize the impact having a comfortable place to break the stress of hard work can have on an employee's ability to focus and maintain the quality of their work, but there are plenty of stats to support this claim.
According to an employee survey done by Staples Business Resource Center, 86 percent of respondents reported that taking breaks makes them more productive. 59 percent said that regular breaks positively affect job satisfaction.
The Atlantic used social scientists to develop the optimal work-to-break ratio for maximum productivity and came up with a schedule where employees work for 52 minutes, and then break for 17 minutes away from their desks to avoid burnout.
So why upgrade the break room at your office?
Studies have shown that offering perks like complimentary coffee and other beverages in a place where employees want to hang out in their free time during the day can build a better sense of community with co-workers and improve company culture.
A great break room not only benefits office morale, it's also an effort on the part of employers to show their commitment to supporting a team. Team members are healthier, happier, and more productive, not to mention that an amenity-packed break room is something that you can advertise to applicants that attracts better talent.
How Can You Upgrade Your Break Room?
We realize that it's not always feasible to completely transform your office lunch room into the archetype of a modern, comfortable place for employees to relax in their spare time throughout the day — you can only work with what you have available to you — but there are great ways to utilize the space at your disposal.
One of the keys involved with creating a great break room is to make sure you capitalize on the opportunity to reflect your company culture. There are countless examples of this in some well-known offices around the country.
Take Google for example, the company notorious for studying the data on every change it makes in the office, no matter how small. At the company's HQ in Mountain View, CA the whole office is basically a break room, with a cafeteria that offers three meals a day plus snacks and even designated places for employees to take power naps throughout the day. Google's culture is one of creativity, and with this long list of break area perks, the company can promote creative behaviors from it while using these amenities to attract top talent.
Here are some other fixtures that are appearing in more and more modern break rooms to promote productivity and boost morale:
Games, puzzles, and other distractions
In some ways, a great break room can be an incentive for good work. Employees can work their hardest for a few hours knowing that their team can enjoy a board game when a project is done, promoting a strong community as well as adequate distractions from the workday stressors that contribute to burnout.
TVs and entertainment
Allowing employees to watch the news and other programs during their lunch and other breaks allows them to feel like they aren't disconnected from the world while they're at work. People tend to view work as something completely separate from other parts of their life. Using televisions to bridge the gap can improve morale and allow an employee to go back to work feeling refreshed.
Comfortable furniture and ambiance
You'd be amazed at how much happier and more productive your employees can be when they actually want to spend time in your office's break room. Modern decor, comfortable furniture, and other fixtures that promote comfort and relaxation — a fireplace, for example — can go a long way towards this goal.
Free water, coffee, and food
Free coffee is a mainstay in a massive number of offices around the country, but free food is seemingly popping up more and more. One of the reasons is improving workplace morale. Another reason is that employers have a vested interest in ensuring that their employees have access to complete, healthy meals.
Many companies also offer a wide selection of food that can be purchased in their cafeterias and office lunch areas.
Your commitment to a healthy workforce can go beyond the health insurance plans you select for your employees. Many offices are offering free massage during the day, as well as some other innovative healthcare services as part of employee break options.
OtterBox is one of the leaders of this movement, going so far as to offer services like acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments to employees during the workday.
The Bottom Line
When employers stop looking at break rooms as distractions that have to be boring and bland, they can start to leverage the benefits of creating the best break room for their business. Get creative and see what you can do with the space you have at your office, and enjoy a happier, more productive workforce.
Our team at Connecting Elements is here to help you through the furniture buying process for your workplace. Call 877-779-3409 to talk to an experienced specialist, or send us a note with any questions you have about your choices in furnishings.
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