The office used to be a big room with a lot of cubicles in it where you wasted 6 to 8 hours and then went home. Today, it’s much more than that. As people strive to be part of the community they work in, we notice a lot of new design trends making an appearance. Of course, wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself isn’t the only reason for the popularity of these trends. As well as that, companies have realized that they can motivate their employees and increase productivity if they give them something more than a cubicle to look forward to.
The most important design trend that made its way into the office is the break room. After working long and hard, people deserve to let up some steam during their breaks. In order to get the full benefits of the break, employers everywhere are striving to provide a comfortable and relaxing experience by rethinking the layout of the break rooms. After all, a well-designed break room has the power to lower stress and increase focus, as well as to make employees feel cared for. Here are some decorating ideas to help you achieve these effects.
1. Entertainment as part of the work day
The workday can inevitably get boring and your employees can end up feeling strained, regardless of how much they love their job. The break room is there to refresh them and give them something fun to do. This is why entertainment should be a key element of every break room.
The simplest thing you can do is put a TV or radio into the room. This way people will have contact with the outside world or something to shift their focus away from work. We all know how relaxing music can be, and a twenty-minute long episode of a sitcom can do wonders for lowering stress. As well as that, it may give your employees something to bond over.
If you want to take it a step further, you can always buy a foosball table and let your workers blow off some steam. Another idea to get them moving is to add a ping pong table. A little bit of activity at the workplace can have a great effect on lowering stress levels. As well as that, it may introduce an air of competition. A little competition can motivate people to try harder and bring out the best in each other.
Let’s not forget about the inevitable inside jokes and closeness that’s going to sprout from playing together, either.
2. Comfort as a priority
Being comfortable after you’ve been stuck behind your desk all day is the best kind of rest you can get. That’s why every break room should include comfy furniture that people can lounge on. From big lounge chairs to couches, everything should be designed to take the load of a person’s shoulders and back.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of creating a big and luxurious seating area. This is mostly because break rooms can often be small. There’s barely enough room to do something creative with the design, so you don’t want to clutter the room with big furniture and make it claustrophobic.
Comfort doesn’t have to come at the price of space, though. There are other options you can look into. For example, you could introduce booth seating. Booths can go up against the wall, leaving a comfy place for your employees to rest, while not burdening the rest of the room.
As well as that, booths are the perfect opportunity to encourage employee communication. They are a form of open seating, meaning that they don’t close off communication and people. Instead, they encourage communication and collaboration, potentially bringing your team closer together.
Comfort doesn’t span just across the seating furniture, though. You should also make sure to have a coffee table with some snacks on it. As well as that, think about the kind of table you introduce to the room. The table should be easily accessible and big enough to fit more than just one person. On the other hand, you can add a few small tables and introduce opportunities for more intimate lunch dates.
3. Being one with nature
Just because you’re inside, doesn’t mean you can’t have some nature to keep you company. Offices are often sterile and stuffy, making employees wish there were anywhere else but their desk. To make them feel less like they’re missing out on life just because they have to work, you can decorate the break room with natural elements.
There are plenty of office plants which are easy to maintain that you can introduce to the premises. From small potted plants and bonsai trees to bigger plants perfect for room corners, you’ll be able to find exactly what fits the size and shape of your break room best.
Introducing plants to the break room ensures that there is enough clean oxygen in the office. The more oxygen there is, the better the brain functions. With optimal brain function, focus and productivity won’t be an issue anymore.
As well as that, having plants in the break room will allow your employees to rest their eyes on something calm. When you stare at a computer screen all day, you need something green and calm to focus on during your breaks. It’s what keeps you calm and keeps stress at bay.
If you want to go a step further, you can start your own office garden. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated, but it will be enough to bring people together. They’ll all get to take care of the garden together and watch it grow.
4. Nurturing coffee culture
No matter what your philosophy on life might be, we can all agree that coffee makes the world go round. It’s the magical drink that makes you focus, wakes you up in the morning, and the perfect excuse to hang out with anyone. Regardless of your preferred type of coffee, it’s still something to bond over and the ideal conversation starter.
This is why the office break room should include a high-quality coffee machine. Ideally, it should be one of those machines that’s able to make more types of coffee so that everyone can get their perfect cup. There are plenty of compact models which can make more than one cup at the time so you won’t have to worry that the bulky nature of the machine will take a toll on the rest of the design. The art of coffee is no longer limited for home use, so make room for the new star of the office. Though it may seem expensive, think of this as an investment.
Not only are you investing in more productivity, energy, and a better mood, but you’re also investing in your employees’ relationships. It can be hard to connect with people, especially if you’re new at the office, so by having a good coffee machine, people don’t have to struggle to find something in common.
Even the most introverted employee will have something to connect to and conversation will flow easily after the first “Do you want a cup of coffee too?” Coffee culture invites a sense of community and belonging into the office, as it is a common tie between people regardless of how different they are.
If your employees needed another reminder that they belong to something bigger than themselves, now they’ve got it. You’ll also notice how much happier and more energized your team seems. Now that they’ve gotten to know each other over a cup of coffee, the synergy when working on the same projects will be palpable.
5. Invite colour into the room
Most offices strive to be professional and sleek, meaning that the walls are painted in neutral and basic colours. There’s nothing wrong with white, beige, light blue, or anything else in the same colour palette when you want to create an air of professionalism, but your break room doesn’t have to succumb to the same rules.
After all, clients aren’t likely to enter it, and it’s a place where your employees can get a little peace of mind. Colour is, therefore, welcomed and encouraged. From painting the walls to introducing a colourful carpet, it’s all up to you. One good idea is to combine a basic colour with an accentual colour.
This means that your walls, floor, and functional furniture will all be of a basic colour that goes well with everything. Then, the details on your main components as well as other decoration will be something entirely different. So, if your base colour is beige, your accentual colour can be yellow, orange, red, green, blue, or anything in between.
This will liven up the room and give it an elegant and sophisticated touch. As well as that, it will make it look playful instead of sterile. Everyone likes seeing a splash of colour on what’s supposed to be an entirely bland surface. If you really want to experiment, you can combine more than one accentual colour.
Of course, the more colours you want to introduce, the ore you need to think about how you combine them. Your details will need to match to the rest of the room, otherwise, it may look like you just threw a bunch of things together. This is why it might be a good idea to introduce a big piece of décor which has multiple colours on it so that you can mix and match as you please. Your best and safest bet is the carpet.
The break room is as important as any other room in the office. It gives your employees the opportunity to get some downtime and relax after a long period of work. As well as that, it lets them communicate with others and maybe even make some new friends. Having a well-designed break room will be good for both good office relationships as well as employee focus and productivity. Remember that your workers are people, not robots and that they deserve an awesome place to take a breather for all they bring to your company.