Let’s Talk about the Office Break Room — Seriously

Did you know that a full 86 percent of employees believe breaks during the workday make them more productive? Also, 59 percent indicate that regular breaks increase work satisfaction. What’s more, 43 percent say breaks improve their personal happiness. Sure, this certainly isn’t the most exciting topic. But it’s an area of your workplace that does play a vital role and in more than one way. On the positive side, it’s where your team members go to relax and decompress, and even form interpersonal relationships. However, it can also be a battleground for bickering employees and an area that breeds and thrives on office politics. That’s why you should make it into a place that promotes good vibes, relaxation, and yes, a true break from work.

Beware the Break Room Drama

There’s no question that there are two sides to every break room in every office building. While it can provide an escape for employees, there are inevitable instances when it is hijacked and made into a room full of drama. In most cases, this is simply a matter of conflicting personalities and people who really like to push conflict on to others. It’s also a place where people who will avoid conflict tend to retreat, only to be thrust into an argument.
Today’s workforce works extremely hard, putting in long hours that often spill into our home lives. People need a place to decompress at work, both physically and mentally. To do that effectively, the space should look and feel different from the rest of the office to distinguish it as a place to relax, rewind and collaborate with colleagues. —Business News Daily
So, it’s important to understand that the room itself can be part of the problem. That’s right. If the break room environment, meaning it’s aesthetics and functionality are counterproductive, it won’t naturally be a relaxing place to take a little time away from the daily grind. Make no mistake about it, if the room feels empty, unwelcoming, and doesn’t provide ample distraction, people’s bad feelings are more liable to escape them and that’s obviously bad for company morale.

How to Create an Effective Break Room in 3 Easy Steps

The break room should be a place that feels separate from the workplace itself. Think about it as an oasis of sorts, a spot where employees can truly unplug for a few moments and enjoy their breaks away from their roles and responsibilities. Here are three simple ways to create an effective break room:
  • Provide food and beverages. A nice variety of healthy snacks is always a good idea. Particularly, popular food and drinks, like water, sports drinks, and even energy drinks, along with fruits and vegetables and perhaps nuts and other snack foods. While you don’t have to stock the refrigerator and pantry with entire meals and common dry goods, there should be enough delicious little edibles and both cold and hot drinks available.
  • Furnish it for comfort and relaxation. Whatever type of furnishings you put in the break room, don’t make the colossal mistake of turning it into a stuffy office or crowded cubicle. In other words, it should feel very homey, with comfortable furniture and even some fun pieces, like oversized bean bags and such. Additionally, having relaxing music playing in the background is a nice touch. The decor should also be aesthetically pleasing and it should forgo any corporate feel.
  • Make it a fun place with games and entertainment. Not only should it be comfortable, the break room ought to be a fun place where employees are encouraged to escape with things like simple board games. Or, if your company culture permits it, table games like foosball or ping pong. Alternatively, you can put a television in the room but this particular idea may not work in every workplace environment.
What other suggestions do you have that might be of help? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting so others can benefit from your perspective! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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