How to Design a Break Room Employees Actually Want to Use

Long gone are the days when the office cooler served as the primary gathering spot for employee interaction and refreshment. Nowadays, traditional workplace environments, filled with cubicles and motivational posters, are becoming increasingly outdated.

Research shows that more hours spent droning away at a desk doesn’t necessarily equate to more work done. In fact, the most productive people are those that split up their work days with regular break periods.

As an employer then, there’s something to be said for the less is more mindset. You can build a happier, more efficient team by encouraging those on staff to stop foregoing daily breaks and instead, take advantage of communal spaces prime for recharging.

Keep these tips in mind when designing break rooms employees actually want to use.

Make it Multi-Purpose

The break room experience doesn’t have to cater to lunchtime and supply storage needs alone. In fact, thinking outside of that box will make the space much more cost-efficient from a utility standpoint.

Make the break room, well, roomy. If it’s big enough to accommodate your entire team, it can easily transform into a centralized meeting space for company-wide events and announcements. You can also equip it with games and TVs, as the budget allows.

Close it Off From the Rest of the Office

Let’s face it, trendy open office space setups aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Often times, the design makes it hard for people to focus and produce during the times they are trying to get work done.

To keep break room noise levels from impacting workflow throughout the rest of your office, put necessary barriers in place. Doing so will also help people more readily make the distinction between where it’s time to work versus relax.

Stock it with Snacks

Keeping snacks and beverages on hand not only fuels your employees physically — it opens the door to increased engagement. It encourages people to get up from their desks and bump into each other, elevating potential throughout the workday for conversation and collaboration.

Furnish for Comfort

While you may not be designing a nap room, designing a break room for comfort makes it that much more inviting. Fill the space with furniture that’s both functional and stylish, incorporating decor to match. If the room feels cold and unwelcoming, it’s easier for employees to choose eating lunch at their desks over mingling with their co-workers.

Habitualize the Act of Taking Breaks

The act of taking breaks is a habit that takes time and effort to build — unless it’s already something that feels commonplace. If you create a culture that encourages time away from the desk as frequently as you do getting work done, your employees will follow suit.

Build the concept of community into your break room with regular gatherings and collaborative stylings. And in time, you’ll find that it takes on a life of its own, shaped by the interests and personalities of your employees regularly putting it to use.

By Andrew Patricio

June 17, 2019