In ancient times — so we are talking before the 1990s or so — break rooms were standard office design features. True, some were better and bigger than others, but it was rare to work at or visit an office and not encounter a designated break room, usually stocked with a couple of gigantic vending machines, some plants, and of course, everyone’s least favorite break room element: “the unlabeled lunch bag in the refrigerator that someone forgot.”
However, in recent years, many offices — especially those with smaller space to work with — have opted to pass on the break room, largely because they viewed it as something conventional rather than necessary.
Granted, a break room is not essential, in the sense that suitable restroom facilities are a must-have. Yet with this being said, break rooms are indeed strategic and therefore valuable pieces of the office design puzzle.
Here are the three key benefits that businesses miss out on when they take a break from break rooms in their office design:
1. Increased Productivity
Break rooms encourage employees to take periodic breaks throughout the day. On the surface, this seems like a drain on productivity. However, studies show that workers who take breaks are more productive, because they have more energy, are more alert, and are more engaged. They are also more likely to finish tasks on-time.
2. Better Collaboration
The break room is not just a sensory deprivation tank where employees go to completely unplug (literally and psychologically) from work. On the contrary, the break room is often the optimal — and sometimes, the only — place where employees can informally gather to share information that is related to work.
No, this does not mean that employees should commandeer the break room and turn it into a de facto meeting room. However, it does mean that there is a great deal of collaboration that takes place in spaces like break rooms, which is beneficial to employees and employers alike.
3. More Employee Engagement
Employee engagement has emerged from being a "nice-to-have" workplace asset, to one that is now recognized as vital to the bottom-line, especially since the costs of turnover are excessive and often run into the tens of thousands of dollars per lost employee. A functional and comfortable break room is a clear demonstration and a constant reminder that employers care about their employees.
What’s more, on-site break room means that employees who need a time out are more likely to stay in the office vs. head to a nearby coffee shop or restaurant, not because they want to, but because they have no other choice. Staying on-site saves them commuting time, which means they enjoy a longer break — are more therefore appreciative and engaged. Everyone wins.
To learn more about adding a break room to your office design — or to re-invent your current break room so that it is delivering all of the rewards and benefits described above — contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation is free.
Also, be sure to check out our FREE eBook on signs that your office needs a renovation NOW - not later: