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DATE: 10/01/2015

The office break room – perk or necessity?

In recent years, numerous studies have revealed the importance of routine breaks to employee productivity. One such study, conducted by social networking company The Draugiem Group, found the 10 percent of employees with the highest productivity took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work.

Perhaps, the most insightful revelation was how these employee chose to spend their breaks –– chatting with co-workers about non-work-related topics, reading books or taking walks (no screens in sight). According to another study, referenced by Park West Gallery, a total of 61 percent of surveyed employees viewed time off as improving physical health, while 55 percent said it improves mental health.

The evidence is mounting, and it appears our human brains have simply not evolved to stare at a screen for 8 hours a day! Which begs the question: Why aren’t employees taking more breaks?

Guilt. As reported by Fox Business, a study conducted by Staples found one in five employees listed guilt as the reason they don't take any breaks, while 55 percent said they don't feel they can leave their desk to take one. Besides creating an office culture that is break-friendly, taking the time to design a well-thought-out employee breakroom may be the best investment in overall staff productivity you can make.

The same study indicated nearly 60 percent of those surveyed as saying a well-stocked and comfortable break room would encourage breaks. With that said, here are 4 tips for furnishing an office breakroom your employees will happily recharge in:

Furnish For Comfort

Above all, you want your employees to be comfortable. Nothing says “we don’t care about our employees” more than stiff folding chairs and old wooden tables. Approach furnishing your company breakroom like you would your home living room; Incorporate plush couches and high quality tables with pieces that don’t scream, “Office space!”

Stock It Up

A “hangry” employee (read: hungry + angry) is the least productive of them all! For this reason, no break room is complete without snacks and beverages. Coffee, with all the fixings –sugar, cream and mugs – is a must. Other suggested amenities to keep employees energized include nuts, granola bars, fruit and filtered water.

Create Opportunities For Relaxation

If you maintain a collaborative office environment, some of your employees may prefer not chatting with anyone at all during their breaks. And that’s OK. Consider providing sequestered spaces in your breakroom that encourage individual activities. Stock these stations with community pairs of high-quality headphones, a digital music library and some light art supplies to encourage creative downtime.

Make It Fun

Unlike the rest of your office space, your breakroom should have a distinct feel of its own. Decorate your breakroom in a way that encourages employees to mentally disconnect from work the moment they walk in the door. Simple ways to do this include painting the walls with fun + fresh paint colors, hanging beautifully framed art + photographs on the walls and incorporating plants into the environment. Think outside the box and experiment with decor ideas you wouldn’t normally. Chalk writing “idea” wall, anyone?

Looking for more ideas on how to refurnish your corporate office? CLICK HERE to book a free consultation with an interior solutions expert today.