There is a common misperception by many employers that breakout spaces are nothing more than a place to add some trendy couches, throw in a few bean bag chairs, maybe a Foosball table or two and call it a day.
However, as a new, younger workforce starts to enter the workplace, the breakout space is becoming an increasingly important area of good office design.
The goal of a well-utilized breakout space is to create a truly multi-functional area that can be used in a wide variety of ways.
From informal meetings and other collaborative work to greeting clients and visitors and most importantly, a place where staff can relax away from their computer screens.
The Office Breakout Space Is A Valuable Work Area If Used Correctly
The term ‘breakout space’ is really a misnomer. It can suggest that staff who use that area are on a break from work. The truth is, with the right technology and environment, a breakout space can be turned into an invaluable work area. By creating a multi-functional room, the breakout area can support ad-hoc meetings which will reduce demand on the traditional meeting rooms.
Consider adding LCD screens that can be used both for entertainment and as a way for employees to share key information during informal meetings from their portable devices.
Recent research has also found that meetings conducted in a more casual atmosphere are typically more productive for brainstorming and developing ideas. Many great ideas have come from inspiring casual spaces.
The key to designing a breakout space with the notion of encouraging collaboration is ensuring the space is welcoming through function and design. Many companies are investing more in good quality coffee and condiments and providing healthier snack choices for employees, all of which promote the use of the space at lunch and other times throughout the day.
Google for instance, famously offers staff freshly prepared free lunches only at set times to encourage collaboration and innovation. By offering free meals to the staff, they are more likely to stay on site and speak to each other.
The Office Breakout Space Makes For Happier Employees
The break out space can also make for a more productive company. Research from the University of Warwick in 2014 found that happy workers are 12% more productive, and many other studies show staff who have a comfortable space to lunch and relax in are happier and more satisfied at work.
There are also numerous health benefits: by encouraging your staff to step away from their desks and spend time away from the glare of a computer screen, it will help improve employee well being and reduces workplace stress.
The Office Breakout Space Should Be Truly Multi-Functional
A dedicated breakout area can not only double as a place for staff to unwind and as an impromptu meeting area, but it can also serve as a destination for catered lunches, demonstrations and displays, saving on the expense of hiring other venues.
A well thought out and well-designed break out space truly has the potential to be the heart of your office, don’t neglect it.