Not Just for Lunch and Coffee: Rethinking the Break Room as a Collaborative Workspace

Not Just for Lunch and Coffee: Rethinking the Break Room as a Collaborative Workspace on compass-office.com

Nope, it’s not a restaurant; it’s an Allsteel break room.

A better break room may mean a better bottom line

Whether you’ve had the same staff for years or you’re a new company with a bunch of recent hires, unity is paramount for the success of your business. Perhaps you’ve experimented with different tactics to generate more cohesion, such as an open layout or team-building exercises. While these can be effective, there’s one area of your office you shouldn’t overlook: the venerable break room.

It used to be that break rooms basically had one function – to give employees a spot to eat and find a brief respite from the job. But that’s changing. Employers are beginning to realize that they could (and should) utilize their break rooms as part of the overall workspace. When used correctly, it can be the best collaborative area you have. To accomplish this goal, follow these steps:

Assess the situation

The first thing to do is take a close look at your current setup. Chances are, when you equipped your office with furniture, the break room wasn’t first on your list. Perhaps all you have are a few tables and chairs and maybe a well-used fridge and coffeemaker. If you notice that people aren’t spending much time in there or prefer eating their ham and cheese sandwiches at their desks, there’s room for improvement.

Create an inviting space

If you want folks to actually enjoy hanging out with each other in your break room, take the office out of the equation for a moment. Think about it in terms of a home. What makes a nice living room? The main element is probably comfortable furniture. When you bring in a couch or an overstuffed chair or two, employees will automatically gravitate to them. And don’t forget about the aesthetics. If the break room has harsh overhead lighting, change it. Some new paint on the walls or framed prints will also go a long way toward creating a welcoming atmosphere.

Encourage all-day usage

Once you’ve transformed your break room into a desirable spot, the next step is to encourage people to use it – and not just for breaks. Not everybody likes having to sit at a desk all day, and it’s possible they’ll get more done if they’re more relaxed. Let your workers know that the break room can act as any other workspace. Also, think about holding meetings there. Conference rooms can be stuffy and formal, but a break room will allow employees to open up and engage in conversation.

Add in some fun elements

Workshops and lectures can create a more cohesive team, but if you really want your people to bond, do something fun. Bring in a foosball or ping-pong table, for examples. Even things on a smaller scale, such as board games or a deck of cards, will get people playing with each other in their off minutes, which strengthens relationships when they get back to business.

You should never underestimate the power of a break room for employee morale, productivity, and collaboration. If you’re looking for ways to improve yours, get in touch with Compass Office Solutions. We’ll help you create a beautiful setup that meets the versatile demands of the modern break room. Call us at 954.430.4590 or reach us through our online form.