The office break room has become a staple of modern offices worldwide. Employers are slowly catching on to the idea that breaks are actually very beneficial to a work environment.
Improving these rooms and making them into a playground for adults is the next big thing in office evolution. Having a designated space where coworkers can chat and have fun does wonders for team cohesion and morale. Here are some reasons your office break room is a haven for employees.
1. It can help stimulate creativity
People often underestimate the kind of effect a small change in scenery can have on their creativity. When you’re stuck in the same desk chair for six or more hours a day, it can be easy to get stuck in the same kind of mental loop. You’re not getting any new stimuli, which means your mind doesn’t have the inspiration to come up with something interesting and creative.
In office settings, this is a particularly bad problem. You want your team members to feel like they’re in a creative environment as often as possible. Temporarily disconnecting from work can provide them with the perfect opportunity to experience this change of scenery. Having a recreational space that stands out from the rest of the workplace is a great way to stimulate creative thoughts.
The things you add to the break room should help stimulate all of your employee’s senses. Colourful furniture and walls might seem like a bit of a childish addition, but you want to create a sense of child-like wonder in order to inspire some creative thinking. Music should be as neutral as possible. Since you pretty much can’t avoid listening to music, you should aim for something that will please everyone. Some light jazz could do the trick just fine.
2. Create a social atmosphere
Much like the playgrounds of their childhood, the office break room should be a place to foster new friendships. However, instead of playing sports and chasing birds, people will probably want to talk with each other and listen to some music instead.
In the actual office environment, it can be difficult to start a conversation. After all, you can’t be too loud for fear of interrupting someone else’s concentration. The people all around you are hard at work and they would love it if you didn’t talk too loud. While you’re at your desk, you’re probably focused on your work and you might not be in the mood for a conversation anyway.
A small change in the environment could be the change your team members needed in order to inspire them to talk with each other. When you’re lounging around on the break room couch and drinking coffee, there’s nothing better to do to pass the time. It’s a low bar for inspiration, but you would be surprised at how effective it can be.
3. Encourage physical health
Offices aren’t exactly famous for being bastions of good physical health. You’re cooped up in a stuffy room and encouraged to be seated for hours at a time. At least, this is what older offices are like. The modern office should strive to be different. One way to make some significant changes in this field is to encourage improvements in physical health throughout the workplace.
Nobody is saying that sitting at your desk for hours is healthy. It can have some pretty bad effects on your back and neck muscles. Even the most ergonomic chairs aren’t going to fix the problem of lack of movement.
You can’t exactly stop the habit of sitting down for long periods of time, especially when most of your work is going to be done on computers. However, even the smallest changes could have a significant effect on employee health. Take a look at your break room, for example. You can make it the designated workout room for those who are inclined to make good use of their breaks.
A couple of stretches here and there can really help increase wakefulness and get rid of cramps from sitting down for too long. If you add a couple of yoga mats to the break room, someone is bound to start using them. Physical health has become a primary concern for many younger people and working on it is part of their culture now. Introducing this kind of healthy mindset into your office is bound to have some good effects down the road.
4. Maximize productivity
It might not seem intuitive that taking breaks would lead to more work, but life can be contradictory like that sometimes. The truth is, taking moderate breaks is essential for any line of work. Human beings aren’t perpetual productivity machines that can churn out work all day. Without taking a breather every once in a while, you’re going to end up with some diminished quality.
Your employees will lose focus over time if they just keep on working. Sitting idly at their desks won’t put them in a position to rest, either. Having a break room seems like the ideal solution to the problem of where to take a break.
After they’ve had some time to relax and think about their day, they can return to work feeling mentally refreshed.
5. Going to the office becomes fun
Spending time at work won’t ever feel like a vacation, but there’s no reason you can’t strive for this kind of atmosphere. There are a bunch of changes you can introduce to make your office environment feel like an adult’s playground.
Take a good look at your break room and think about the various ways people could have fun there. Watching television is one idea. Better yet, if you have a TV in your break room, why not hook it up with a gaming console? Gaming has become a widespread source of fun and you’ll find a gaming console in just about every home. If you add one to your office break room, you might be one step closer to making your office feel like home.
If you want a bit more competitiveness in your break room, you should consider adding some board games. Your employees need to do something to pass the time during their break and board games provide them with the opportunity to do so in a social and fun manner.
Try to pick games that don’t require hours to conclude sessions. Something along the lines of Monopoly might not work, as these games can drag on for a long while. Pictionary is both fun and competitive and the game itself inspires creative thought. The competitive elements also add to the charm of playing it. A bit of friendly competition will add some more stakes to games in the break room.
6. It makes coffee breaks even better
Coffee is the most widely used stimulant in the world. For a lot of offices, it’s the lifeblood that gives employees enough energy to get the ball rolling in the morning. Having a fresh cup of coffee on your break is part of the office experience. If you need a bit of a pick-me-up after hours of hard work, a cup of coffee is the first thing you reach for. Why not take the time to enjoy that fresh cup in a pleasant environment?
The coffee enthusiasts are often asked what makes the perfect cup of office coffee. Most will agree that convenience and speed are the two most important attributes. After all, you’re going to be in a rush to get back to work, aren’t you? However, this might not be the best way to look at it. If you are able to fully enjoy your cup and soak in the atmosphere of a break room, you might appreciate your work day a bit more, which would further motivate you to be productive for the company.
The actual quality of your coffee is another factor to consider. You won’t see people complain about mediocre coffee, because it’s still going to do its job. However, you’ll get quite a bit of appreciation if you step up the quality of the coffee pod machines. Better coffee is a luxury, but it’s one luxury that office environments really benefit from.
7. You can use it to promote healthy eating
It’s not the responsibility of the employer to keep their workers healthy. People have to watch out for their own healthy habits in their free time. However, there’s no reason you can’t show you care about the members of your team. After all, your workers are guaranteed to perform better if their health is improved.
How do you go about encouraging healthy habits in the designated office break room? There are a couple of ways to do it. Let’s start with nutrition and food. Break rooms usually feature some light snacks that don’t really make for very satisfying meals. You can expect potato chips, fries, and popcorn to be on the menu for most days. These things aren’t particularly fattening, but they do have excess calories and fats that nobody really needs in their life. Improving on the break room menu might be a good first step.
Start by replacing the chips with a fruit basket. Most fruit is just as light of a snack as potato chips, but for some reason, they aren’t frequently used for nibbling while waiting for coffee. This can be explained by force of habit. People don’t eat fruit on their breaks because they aren’t used to it. Why not become a pioneer of office nutrition and set up a delicious fruit bowl in your break room. People will eventually catch on to the idea and they will start eating more vitamin-packed foods on their breaks.
Taking a good look at any office environment will tell you that there’s something missing from it. A bit of fun and relaxation is something people can’t do without, even while they’re at work. Because of this, making sure they get the opportunity to relax is going to have significantly good effects on morale and productivity. For the reasons listed above, improving your office break room is more than just a good idea for improving team mentality, it’s something that can really impact your team as a whole.