Over the last few years, one of the most important developments in the world of office design has been the emergence of “breakout spaces”. These are small areas – usually situated next to a stairwell, elevator, lunchroom or other high-traffic area – where employees can informally meet, chat, unwind, read, meditate, or even take a quick (sitting) cat nap.
Aside from the obvious benefit of allowing employees to recharge their batteries – which is great for morale and supporting employee wellness — breakout spaces boost collaboration and productivity. What’s more, breakout spaces are easy to design, affordable to create, and quick to implement.
Based on our experience working with businesses of all shapes and sizes – and across all fields, industries and sectors – below are 3 signs that your office needs breakout spaces:
Proliferation of ad hoc breakout spaces.
If your employees have creatively and cleverly repurposed lunch rooms, meeting rooms, lobbies, hallways, or even cubicles as ad hoc breakout spaces, then it is indeed worthwhile to “make it official” by creating one for this – and only this – purpose.
Lack of cross-functional collaboration.
While collaboration within teams and workgroups may be sufficient, there may be a significant disconnect between cross-functioning teams who do not traditionally work together (either on shared projects/programs, in the same physical work area, or typically a mix of both). Breakout spaces help foster interaction between cross-functioning teams, which is important for overall knowledge sharing and teamwork.
Highly stressed-out employees.
Stress is a mainstay in the business world and trying to eliminate it is impossible – especially in fields that are, for lack of a better term, inherently stressful. For example, call center environments can be fairly tense as agents try and resolve customer service issues. However, excess stress is dangerous and unhealthy, and lead to above-average incidences of absenteeism, sick leave, resignations and terminations.
Obviously, breakout spaces are not “magic wands” that will instantly resolve these issues. However, they can go a long way towards helping employees de-stress throughout the day, which can keep them happier, healthier and more productive.
The Bottom Line
As noted above, breakout spaces are simple to design, quick to create, and compared to a major office renovation, they are very affordable. And since there is no need to alter a building’s external structure there is no need to hire an architect, and in most cases a breakout space/breakout spaces can be put in place with virtually no disruption to staff or customers, and no down-time for business as a whole.
And just as importantly, you can involve your staff in picking elements like materials, colors, fixtures, furniture and lighting, which is great for morale and inspires them to use and embrace their new breakout spaces from day one!
To learn more about refreshing your office with breakout spaces – or even a single breakout space if that is more feasible or suitable — contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.