It’s time to break away from the standard gray and white walls paired with endless rows of office cubicles.
Workspace design plays a bigger factor in attracting and retaining employees, and there’s so much more to it than just choosing your wall colors and rearranging your office layout.
While traditionally seen as unproductive, break rooms and lounges are actually being more appreciated by younger professionals who see more value in mental health and wellness. In fact, surveyed employees have said that these recreational areas play huge parts in their decision to accept a job offer and stay at a company.
So, if you’ve considered putting up break rooms and lounges in your office, this article is for you.
1. Spice it up with some games
Nowadays, break rooms are more than just vacant spaces with chairs and tables for idle chatter. When employees take breaks, they want to feel relaxed and get away from the usual hustle and bustle of the daily work routine.
And what better way to help them feel more relaxed than giving them things they can play around with? At Susquehanna International Group, LLP, employees can play poker and other games while in the break room, so everyone’s using their brains for some real recreation while they’re away from their desks.
There are plenty of low-cost options for you when deciding what games to put in a break room. In addition to the card games, you can also opt for either a foosball or a pool table. Basically, anything that can be played by multiple people so that they can form better bonds outside of projects will be a plus.
In fact, letting them play cooperative games in the break room might even lead to better teamwork and collaboration when working on serious office tasks.
2. Mix and match the furniture
If the main office space is filled with symmetrical and matching furniture and accessories, a break room with furniture of different heights is a great way to make employees feel like they’re in a different place.
By allowing the break room to look and feel more dynamic, employees can be more relaxed. Bar-height tables and stools are a great way to make employees feel like they’re out of the office, even for only a few minutes. Not only does it make the employees feel more at ease, but it also looks interesting.
3. Soft seating is key
Maybe your office is filled with standard office chairs that have the usual mesh or small foam combos. If that’s the case, throw in some plush booths and bean bag chairs in the break room to make the atmosphere more relaxed.
Put some throw pillows in there, and you’re well on your way to making a break room that actually gives employees a break.
4. Don’t forget the food and drinks
Break rooms and lounges are not all about the games and the idle chatter. Food is one of the best ways to reenergize after long hours in front of a laptop, and this is where you can really get an edge against your competitors.
Nowadays, free coffee is no longer a perk. It’s basically a standard that every employee expects. Additionally, most employees have associated “free” with “terrible.” So if you really want your coffee to stand out, you’ll want to invest in or splurge on quality coffee.
While you’re at it, a fully stocked pantry with some snacks won’t hurt. It’s your call if you want to give them away for free or sell them at a very discounted price.
Some companies also give food cards to their employees that they can use to buy snacks.
Regardless of which method you want to use to provide these amenities, it’s still a good way to really stand out from the competition. Drinks and snacks also allow employees to bond together in a relaxed scenario because not everyone may want to play games during their leisure time.
5. Stay away from dark colors
Dark, dull, and neutral colors might already be filling the main office room. Those whites and grays shouldn’t be in your break room and lounge because people are looking for an escape, or at least a place where it doesn’t feel like the office.
The break room should feel vibrant and reenergizing, which is why most companies are opting to fill their break rooms with greenery and warm colors.
If your budget allows, adding in some decorative items like plants and picture frames can also work wonders in changing the overall vibe of the break room.
While you’re at it, make sure to contrast the design of the break room with the office. For instance, if the office is full of private cubicles, you can try putting a break room in an open area to make your employees feel like they can talk to everyone else while they’re in there.
6. Focus on conversation, not convention
We’ve talked about specifics, and now it’s time to talk about how you want your employees to feel when in the break room.
First of all, you want to encourage conversation in the break room. Not the kind of conversation that stresses them out, like updates on their tasks, but the kind of conversation that forges personal bonds.
You’ll want to encourage an atmosphere of conversation, and the best way to do this is by putting in diverse decorations with a singular theme that encourages movement between spaces.
This way, everyone feels comfortable talking to anyone, and the break room will feel like its own world in the office.
The break room is a sort of home away from home for your employees, but it’s become much more than that in recent years. As an employer, you always want your employees to be in their best shape, whether mentally or physically, and a well-designed break room is a great way to ensure that.
Workspace design for break rooms has also evolved into a competing point for companies, with plenty of employees saying that design plays a huge part in helping them to decide if they want to stay or jump ship.
So if you’re thinking about putting in a break room, make sure to design it with your employees’ needs in mind, and watch that morale skyrocket!