Maximizing Your Break Room Potential

BreakroomNo matter how mobile your workforce, it’s important as ever to maintain gathering places for downtime and breaks. The break room, after all, might be the only place where some co-workers see one another at the office, providing a key chance to interact on a human level – rather than while vying for position at the color copier station.

The break room also sends messages about your corporate culture. Are you all about industrial-style tables, chairs and a 20-year-old coffee machine? Or do you value your employees enough to create an office break room that becomes a home away from home, complete with furnishings that unquestionably speak volumes about your specific organization?

The good folks at Entrepreneur magazine recently profiled several corporate spaces, each of which represented a core break-room design concept. Here are three examples to get your creative juices flowing:

Encourage Spontaneous Unwinding – We’ve all snaked our way through an office maze, looking for that one place where we can take an informal meeting with a colleague. Or just spend a few minutes enjoying the healthy snack we brought from home – away from our cube or office closet. The Chicago office of Google encourages that sort of thing by allowing the employees to own the culture and to offer positive ideas to improve it. Rooms in the office have Chicago connotations; an elevated train makes its way through the office, bringing to mind one of the city’s main methods of transportation; and, the presence of massage and beanbag chairs sends a message that Google wants to invest in their people. Who, in turn, want to give more of themselves.

Maximize Your Space Potential – Rather than let that empty nook down the hall be cluttered with a file cabinet and a chair no one wants to use, consider filling it with a small café, which encourages interaction and group activity. That’s what the folks at Rightpoint did.

Make the Space Speak for You – Colorful beanbags and coffee bars are great, but if you’d like to take things a giant leap further, check out what Red Frog Events has done. There are tree houses, a zip line and a slide, plus a LEGO table, built by employees, where people can brainstorm how to put on better and better events. How better to spark creativity than within a highly creative space?

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