In every office, break rooms serve as a gathering place for employees to get away from their work for a few minutes. Whether they’re getting coffee or eating lunch, workers eventually begin to see the break room as a retreat, especially if the room has been specifically designed to be warm and inviting.
For employers, there are incentives to plan and build a great break room. Anything that helps workers see the workplace as a fun place to be can boost morale. The break room also helps coworkers socialize, and by getting to know each other better and overcoming their workplace shyness, team members may be more eager to work together. Here are a few tips to help you build a break room your employees will love.
Every break room should have the basics employees need to enjoy their coffee, snacks, and meals. In addition to vending machines, set up an area with condiments like packets of sugar and artificial sweeteners, salt, pepper, and coffee stirrers. For a small weekly expense, you can also add a water cooler with a disposable cups, as well as coffee grounds and filters. Having all of the amenities employees need will encourage them to bring their lunch or get their food to go instead of dining in restaurants. This will reduce the amount of time workers spend away from the office, boosting their productivity.
Provide comfortable seating
Traditional break rooms include multiple tables, each fitted with a set of chairs to match. The goal is to simply provide lunching employees a place to eat. However, more modern design calls for break areas that allow employees to have a casual discussion over a cup of coffee or sit quietly with a book to unwind after a busy morning. If your break room can include a window that provides a view to employees, you’ll likely find they appreciate it as opposed to sitting in a windowless room with fluorescent lighting. Even a small change, such as cushiony, comfortable chairs around a glass table, can give your break room the injection of originality it needs.
Add a single-cup coffeemaker
The office coffeepot can be the start of numerous battles. Someone always seems to feel that at least one person isn’t participating in making coffee or cleaning the pot each day. A one-cup coffeemaker makes it easier for everyone, since employees can make a cup of coffee whenever they want one. Be aware that coffee pods can be significantly more expensive than regular coffee, and that the machine will still need to be cleaned on occasion. Offer to provide low-cost coffee for free, with employees encouraged to bring their own favorite pods to the office. You’ll likely find many workers choose to bring their own, which cuts down on your expense.
Personalize the space
Your break room décor should have a personality that accurately represents your workplace culture. This can be done in small ways, like adding unique wood signs with fun sayings or using colors to evoke the right mood. Ask employees to help out when you’re choosing items for your break room. This will help them feel as though they contributed to the design, which will lead to them feeling as though it’s actually theirs. Also encourage employees to suggest items they’d prefer to see in the break room, such as certain types of sweeteners or fresh fruit. You may not be able to accommodate every request, but even adding a few of these items can make a difference.
Add in fun
In recent years, games have become a great way to take a break room to the next level. These could be something as simple as a dartboard or as complex as an arcade game. If you have TVs, you could simply add in a video game console that employees can use while on break. It’s important to make sure you have staff that won’t abuse the privilege by playing when they should be working. In most offices, though, it will prove a fun way to end a stressful workday. In fact, one study found that 80 percent of online gamers who play intermittently throughout the day are more focused than they are when they aren’t able to play. Many gamers say that brief breaks to play help them better manage stress.
Your business’s breakroom can become a focal point for your employee activities. With the right design approach, you’ll be able to create a room that improves your team’s workday, giving them something to look forward to as they work hard to help you grow. With improved morale comes increased productivity and lower turnover rates, boosting your business’s bottom line.
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This article originally appeared on Quill.com.