The Office Break Room Drama
How to Improve an Office Break Room
Ranging from fancy retreats to no-frills kitchenettes or perhaps even just a simple water cooler, a break room/area is a common feature of most modern offices in the corporate world. However basic, it offers someplace separate from the work zone to have a snack, get a drink, make small talk with coworkers, and take a few minutes away from the daily grind. Here are some ideas for improving an office break room that may need a little inspiration.
Keep the room clean.Nobody likes a crusty microwave, sticky refrigerator or coffeemaker one or two brews from disrepair. Make it everyone's responsibility to keep it tidy and clean up after themselves, and on an occasional basis, have the room thoroughly or professionally cleaned from top to bottom.
Make space for people to linger, but only for a short while.Placing a comfortable sofa or TV with a thousand channels isn't a good idea if employee productivity matters, but there should at least be a table with a few chairs for people to eat lunch or snacks.
Design the room so that it doesn't blend in with the rest of the office.The goal is to make it a separate place from the rest of the office, so switch up the paint color, change the flooring or lighting, etc. When it comes to furniture, try buying home furnishings, rather than more office pieces. For employees, sitting in comfortable, homey chairs while they're on break, rather than office chairs or cheap fold-out seats, can make a world of difference in recharging for the rest of the day.
Provide some amenities.Generally speaking, even the most basic break rooms feature a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, cups, utensils, etc. If you want to go the extra mile, consider putting some healthy food options in the pantry, and put out treats like donuts or bagels every once in a while.
- Some offices even go a step further, providing features like espresso machines, free vending machines, or even televisions and video games.
Make sure the room is well-maintained.A broken fridge or lights that need to be replaced give off a bad impression.
Include natural lighting if possible.Some studies have shown that exposure to natural lighting in the workplace actually has a positive correlation with better health and overall quality of life for employees.Whether or not you're concerned with the health effects, it's clear that natural light just feels nicer to sit in than traditional office lighting. If possible, make your break room somewhere with windows or skylights; if not, consider at least adding some light bulbs that emulate natural lighting and the warmth of the sun, instead of a colder, harsher light.
Get feedback from employees.Take their suggestions into consideration on how they would like to see the break room improved. After all, it is meant to be used and enjoyed by everyone.
Video: Work break room tour
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