Any task, be it labor-intensive or purely for pleasure, will exhaust the body & mind after a prolonged period. Work, in all it’s forms, is no exception. Providing a space for employees to find respite from the grind, however brief, benefits performance and, ultimately, the bottom line. Thus, some concerned thought about break room furniture, accessibility & the end-user will go a long way toward happier, more productive people.
So, in this blog, we look at why and how to cultivate common areas that put your people in a positive frame of mind, promote collaboration & support employees’ wellbeing.
“The way you set up an office breakroom can actually have a material effect on your revenues and profitability.”
Put Simply, Break Rooms Have Purpose.
The primary reason for having a break room is to provide space for employees to eat & recharge. In many workplaces, the position of the break room lends itself to being a space for both seeking privacy & staging purposeful collaboration. Also, local laws often require breaks (depending on location). For instance, in Tennessee, most employees working six consecutive hours or more are required to take a 30-minute unpaid break. So, mandated or not, why would you leave people to take those breaks in the broom closet? Another break room benefit is as a source of information. Beyond calendars and policies, this space is an opportunity to positively affect employees’ experience by conveying your appreciation and values.
Break Rooms Promote Employees’ Productivity & Wellness.
On an individual level, taking breaks from the steady stream of daily tasks has been shown to reduce stress & increase productivity. Workplace stress is the major source of stress for American adults by a wide margin. By having a space to briefly disconnect and recharge, employees can more easily combat feelings of stress and boost cognitive performance. On a group level, break rooms act as a center for social interaction. Socializing in the workplace has been shown to build bonds of trust between co-habitants – instrumental to cultivating a workforce greater than the sum of it’s parts.
Provide Options with Break Room Furniture
An agile workplace rises to each day’s challenge. How does a break room make a workplace more agile? It’s not because it provides space to connect, collaborate or decompress – it’s because the break room space can rise to all three of those needs. Create a space where people can go be alone, find connections, or stage collaboration with comfortable functionality. Café tables and/or lounge furniture are popular trends in break room furniture shown to increase workplace collaboration, providing a space to eat and relax that doesn’t feel like an office extension.
Promote Breaks & People’s Wellbeing
Beyond your break room furniture, differentiate the space via design. Visually separating the space from the rest of the workplace will more fully allow workers to disconnect and find rest. Lighting is a major consideration – “foot candle” is an industry measure for light intensity, and lowering the foot candles of a space can help the mind decompress. Dimmable LED lighting is an excellent solution because, although we don’t perceive it, flickering fluorescent bulbs put major strain on our eyes.
Make the break room accessible to everyone in the office, then encourage them to spend time there! This communal space can be used to stimulate knowledge sharing by setting the stage for chance encounters. Convey your appreciation for people’s effort and concern for their wellbeing. Offer healthy options for food and encourage healthful activity. Provide culturally-appropriate amenities while also cultivating feelings of ownership by adding democratically-selected features and putting the onus on end-users to keep the space tidy.
“Break rooms are a place where employees can step out of the work zone without stepping out of the office.”
– Neal Jenson
Thanks for Reading!
At Office Furniture Warehouse, we’re no stranger to break rooms desperately in need of an update. Old, sticky fixtures dimly lit by flickering lights, littered with questionably-functional appliances and trade publications from before millennials’ time.
All-too-familiar? You’re in luck. We’ve put together a selection of contemporary break room furniture for cultivating a common area to put your people in a positive frame of mind. So – feeling inspired to invest in a space that boosts happiness & productivity?