Office break rooms serve as vital gathering places for employees taking their breaks. If the break room is designed to be inviting and accessible, workers will enjoy heading there to eat lunch, drink coffee, and socialize, which can boost their morale. Office managers can read on to find out how to design the perfect employee break room.
Create a Coffee Station
Installing a coffee station is a great way for office managers to help employees get their days started on the right foot or power through long afternoons. Instead of just purchasing a cheap drip coffee maker and running the risk of starting intra-office drama about whose turn it is to change the filters and make fresh pots, look into commercial office coffee machines. There are both single-cup and multi-cup options available.
Provide Comfortable Seating
Most traditional break rooms feature a few tables and chairs so employees can enjoy lunch together. If that’s all the seating available in the break room, think about diversifying. Add a comfortable chair or two and go for quality over cost. Workers will enjoy being able to sit together in smaller groups to discuss projects or just get caught up and socialize without having to sit at a hard, plastic table.
Inject Some Personality
The break room’s decor should represent the company’s workplace culture, but that doesn’t mean adding branded merchandise. Instead, focus on choosing calming colors to improve employees’ moods or adding some unique art to the walls to liven things up.
Decorating the break room is a great opportunity for getting employees involved. Ask them to suggest what kinds of furniture or snacks they might want in the break room, and solicit feedback before making major changes. Even if office managers can’t accommodate every employee’s request, taking their input into account can make workers feel like they have a stake in making improvements.
Stock Snacks and Condiments
Most employee break rooms across the country already have coffee pots and vending machines, but office managers who want to make their teams feel more appreciated can go one step further by adding a snack station.
Even if providing daily snacks isn’t in the company’s budget, placing condiments in the employee break room for use during lunch can be a great idea. It won’t just make workers feel more appreciated but will also encourage them to eat lunch on-site instead of dining in restaurants, reducing the amount of time they spend away from the office.
Add Team Photos
If there’s a ton of blank space on the break room’s walls, designers can view that as an opportunity. Try filling it in with team photos that showcase everyone at his or her best.
Instead of forcing everyone together to take awkward, forced official photographs, try bringing a camera to events like team-building activities, company barbecues, and awards celebrations to snap a few shots. Just make sure to get permission from the employees before hanging their photos on the walls.
Create a Recreation Space
Giving teams the opportunity to play games together can help employees bond and develop better communication skills. If there’s enough space in the break room, try including a recreation station. Depending on how much space there is and how much money designers have for break room improvements, options for games and recreation can include a:
• Ping pong table
• Foosball table
• Basketball hoop (if space is available)
If there’s no room for a full recreation station, don’t discount this option immediately. There are plenty of board games, jigsaw puzzles, and even specialized team-building activities that can be stored in much smaller places and put away when they’re no longer being used. Break room designers can even add a computer or iPad that’s loaded with games everyone can play.
Consider Adding a Quiet Room
Not all employees will want to socialize on their breaks. Some team members prefer to spend their time alone in quiet meditation so they can rest and recharge, and that’s just fine. If there’s enough space for both a traditional break room and a quiet room, office managers can easily accommodate employees who need some quiet space to sort out their thoughts.
A good quiet room should feature:
• A couch or reclining chair for resting
• Soundproofing on the walls
• Yoga mats or meditation cushions
• Dim lighting
Office managers who want to go one step further can also add scent diffusers to the quiet room so that interested workers can take advantage of aromatherapy. Scents like lavender can promote a sense of calm and well-being, making it easier for employees to unwind on their breaks.
Establish an Office Library
Want to promote learning and self-development in the workplace? Adding a small library to the employee break room is a great way to do just that. Workers naturally look for ways to relax and unwind on their breaks, and providing good books that might also help them hone their skills is a great way to help them find it.
Some offices also establish free libraries or honor-system lending libraries. To start a free library, just add a bookshelf with a few volumes on it and make an announcement or put up a sign indicating that employees are encouraged to take whatever books they want and bring new ones from home to share with their peers.
Give Employees a Better Break
A business’s break room can be a drab, dreary place that most team members avoid if they can help it, or it can be a focal point for socializing and employee activities. It doesn’t cost much to redesign an employee break room, so there’s little reason not to provide workers with a more personalized, comfortable place to spend time.
Having access to a better break room can improve employee morale, which can, in turn, increase productivity and lower turnover rates. Even office managers who are working on a strict budget can afford to implement one or two of the tips described above, and they’ll almost certainly find that doing so is worth the investment.