Break rooms are an important part of a successful office layout. After all, where else can you take a necessary breather from your workplace, without actually leaving the workplace? However, a break room can only have the maximum positive effect if it’s a place workers actually enjoy.
Give ‘Em a Break!
Here are seven elements that will make that happen, courtesy of EON Office and the Over-Caffeinated Entrepreneur’s Blog.
The purpose of the break room is to let workers take a mini-vacation from work. So to make the room its own distinctive space, avoid designing it with the same palette as the rest of the office. Decorate with bright furniture; paint the walls a vibrant color. Have plenty of chairs and several tables that can be easily moved, to encourage mingling. To further create a community feel, hang a bulletin board on the wall for posting news and announcements.
If you have the budget for it, consider installing a television. Workers who take their lunch break can catch up on the latest news, or indulge in mid-day reruns of their favorite sitcom. If a television is out of the question, consider stocking the break room with magazines for workers to peruse. Reading material can let them feed their minds, while they feed their mouths, too.
To encourage a healthy workforce, have nutritional snacks on hand. These may take the form of nuts, granola bars, or fresh fruit available for free, or doctor-approved snacks in the vending machine, or some combination of the two. While sugar-laden foods may be a popular choice, these should be avoided whenever possible; the energy boosts they provide are only temporary. Plus, unhealthy snacks can be a poor complement to lack of physical activity, which is a reality for many office workers who remain seated for most of the day.
Break rooms are a space for everyone, and a set of rules will ensure that it’s kept clean and comfortable for each person who uses it. Post clear guidelines for workers about clearing food out of the refrigerator, washing their dirty dishes, cleaning up spills and other messes, etc. Designate a person to be the main contact for any questions, concerns, or snack supply needs.
A good break room will have a few key appliances, including a refrigerator, freezer, and microwave, at the very least. Other optional appliances could include a toaster, a coffee pot, and a water cooler. With these items just a few steps away from their desks, employees will have a convenient means for refueling throughout the day, without having to spend fifteen minutes on a Starbucks run.
Keep the break room stocked with items like plastic spoons, forks, and knives and paper coffee cups. Also be sure the room has dish detergent and a sponge for dishwashing, sugar and creamer for coffee, and a trash can and recycling bin.
Placing the break room in a space with a window view of natural scenery is another good way to let workers take a break from their usual surroundings. If your break room doesn’t have a good window view, try putting up some interesting art on the walls. Whether natural or artistic, a nice view can help create a relaxing atmosphere.
When your break room incorporates all of the above elements, your workers will have a great place to unwind, chat, and enjoy a cup of coffee. They can then return to their work, fully recharged. Who wouldn’t want that?