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Bringing Back the Break Room: Furniture and Perk Ideas

A break room is a huge part of a successful workplace. “The breakroom.”

That phrase carries with it a certain meaning, depending on where you work. In some workplaces, it’s a counter in the midst the work area; maybe a coffee pot offering overcooked dregs and some powdered creamer.

In other offices, it could be a separate room with an Office-esque vibe: vending machines, a few tables and chairs and a microwave that’s in need of a good cleaning.

Whichever the case, many new companies today are trying to revitalize the concept of a breakroom by transforming it into a desirable space where employees can truly enjoy themselves in the time they have away from their workspace.

Creating a good workspace is a matter of incorporating the right furniture and the right perks. Your furniture choices determine the comfort level and community vibe that your breakroom offers, while the perks tend to be what draw people in and get them to the table in the first place.

Hi-Tops Versus Traditional Tables: Choosing What’s Best for Your Team

One of the things you notice as you browse through our catalog is that there are two types of tables: bar-style tables and round sit-down tables.

The bar tables serve a specific purpose – providing an easily accessible, space-saving spot for employees to use for a few minutes while they eat or have a quick conversation with a colleague. Overall, they present an informal opportunity to take a quick 15-minute break.

These tables can be a good fit for a company whose employees spend most of their time sitting. Hi-tops encourage employees to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing.

Sit-down tables encourage longer conversations and a more relaxed location if you plan on taking a lunch break of 30 minutes or more. If manual labor takes up most of your workers’ time, these tables give them a chance to rest their legs and decompress with their colleagues.

The Extra Perks: Making the Space Comfortable

Choosing the right furniture in your breakroom will dictate how relaxing the space will be to a certain extent.

There are other factors, however, that play into how inviting a space your breakroom will be.

Separate the workspace and the breakroom

For example, a 2016 article from Small Business Trends brings up an excellent point about the concept of separation.

Contributor Annie Pilon noted the significance of ensuring a clear separation between your breakroom and your workspaces.

“It’s important that your break room be physically separated from the rest of your office. If you have an open floor plan, then the employees who are taking breaks could potentially be distracting to those who are working,” Pilon said. “Or those who are working could make it more difficult for those trying to take breaks.”

Implementing a separation of work areas and spaces for breaks doesn’t mean that you need to hire someone to frame a wall, though. Simple solutions like a free-standing partition or curtains can do the trick, Pilon said.

Televisions and other perks can help employees relax

Pilon goes on to point out that sometimes employees need mechanisms to relax them, something to transition them from work to a break. Magazines, books and breaks serve as excellent catalysts for a mental detachment from work.

“Offer something extra for employees who really need to relax and take their minds off of work for a few by including fun distractions like books or a TV,” she wrote. “Since employees who work constantly can start to feel burnt out and then potentially lose focus and have their productivity suffer, providing a few things that can help them actually separate themselves from work can also help them and your business over time.”

This is a sentiment shared by Inc. contributor Jayson DeMers, who notes that televisions are common in the break rooms of successful companies. His reasoning centers on the fact that it helps employees feel more involved in the world outside the office.

“A steady stream of relevant information, such as national news, helps your workers feel more involved and get more informed about the happenings of the world outside your office,” DeMers wrote. “If you can’t have televisions, newspapers may be a suitable alternative.”

Be wise about volume levels, though, DeMers says. The TVs shouldn’t dominate the room.

“Keep them at a low volume and restrict the number of channels available to cut down on their potential as a distraction, but televisions can be extremely valuable in entertaining and informing your employees,” he wrote.


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