In today’s world it’s harder and harder to separate work from home, so employees are often thinking about and completing work at home. Because of this crossover, it’s more important than ever that employees have a place at work to unwind a bit — physically and mentally — to help prevent stress and burnout. An inviting break room is important in not only bolstering employee morale, caring for their mental health and fostering community, but a well-designed break room also helps increase their productivity.
The best way to create a break room that works for your employees is to involve them in the creation. When you do, keep these ideas in mind:
Your break room should be a cozy, convenient and multi-use space that is easy to access and appeals to employees who relax in all different ways. A good break room is large enough to have multiple spaces dedicated to different types of activities.
When choosing a color scheme, keep the psychology of color theory in mind. Make sure the room feels like a distinct space that is separate from the rest of your office and use color to evoke emotion. For example, using a soothing blue or green on the walls helps employees relax, and pops of bright colors like yellow and red can help stimulate creativity and excitement.
When you can, make access to the outdoors a priority. Natural light and bringing the outdoors in (such as large windows and plants) helps with alertness and stress while also sparking creativity.
If you have the space, create rooms or pods where people looking for some quiet, alone time can decompress. Not everyone wants to play scrabble or discuss the latest season of a favorite TV show on their break — some prefer to read, listen to a podcast or meditate.
Think carefully about the seating you provide. You want a break room to be a place where employees can eat and gather, but also a comfortable place for them to unwind and have conversations — conversations that can spark ideas and lead to innovation. Think about soft couches in addition to tables and chairs. Making your seating areas adaptable (such as having the chairs on casters) allows for some flexibility in how people gather and use the space.
There are a variety of amenities you can offer that can improve your employees’ ability to relax, socialize and innovate.
Having a television can help relax your employees and relieve stress. It can also serve as a community builder, especially during events like March Madness, the Olympics and major news milestones.
Stocking an in-office library with all genres of books provides both an escape and professional development opportunities for your employees.
Providing games gives employees the tools to socialize and bond. Some companies can offer foosball and air hockey, but if that’s not in the budget or you have space concerns, consider adding some popular board games to your library.
If you can, offering employees a workout area is a huge benefit. This allows them to take a break that not only benefits their long-term physical health, but also gives them an opportunity to re-center themselves and to stimulate their mind.
Food and Drink
Offering healthy food options helps curb hunger and also promotes energy and overall employee wellness.
And of course, the long time office staple of coffee is a must for your break room. The caffeine helps your employees, but chatting over coffee is a time for bonding and discussion. If you don’t have coffee on site, employees will seek out off-site options, which pulls them away from their work and their colleagues regularly.
Be sure to keep the space clean. Not only do you want the space to be uncluttered and welcoming, you also want it to be a clean, safe place where employees can congregate without worrying about getting sick.
It’s important that your leadership utilizes the break room because it sets an example that taking mental health breaks throughout the day is not only encouraged but expected. It also gives employees at all levels an opportunity to interact, build relationships and brainstorm together.
As you’re thinking about what is best for the future of your employees and your business, talk to your local Farm Bureau agent to ensure you are protected.