Employee comfort and happiness is a vital factor for any business, and one feature many offices will incorporate with this theme in mind is a break room. Office break rooms can vary widely in their size, use and setup, but they often contain a few similar elements that allow for some basic relaxation and leisure time between a given day's hard work.
At Urban 9-5, we've helped numerous businesses design an ideal break room using our wide selection of industrial and rustic office furniture, which ranges from desks and tables to storage, lighting, office rugs and many other areas in between. If you're moving into a new office space and looking to design the perfect break room, what are some of the basic elements that should be present? Here's a general primer.
Tables are often the first items selected for a break room in the office, largely because they take up the most space. You'll set a lot of things on the table, including food items from break time meals or drinks from an office soda machine.
It's important to have room for snacks and other basic necessities for workers to munch on as they take their 15-minute break. The size of the break room itself will dictate the size of your table set. If it's a small area, you might want to go with something smaller, like a circular table instead of a long rectangular version. For larger break rooms, on the other hand, a long rectangular table will be the way to go for its ability to seat more people at once.
In some larger spaces, however, use of multiple different tables is also possible. In a larger break room, you might want to place a long rectangular table for five people on either side and another small circular table in the middle. This way, workers will still have plenty of room to eat their lunch without feeling cramped or rubbing elbows with everyone else present.
Tables can also be used for other purposes besides meal time, however. In smaller break areas, a long rectangular table can be split into two separate pieces and used for other purposes. One side of the divider can be outfitted with storage cabinets below and a flat surface above, making it an ideal working area for breaking down boxes or planning out projects.
Next up, it's time to ensure your break room space has enough seating available. This is a necessary feature for any office or business that lets employees take their breaks at different times throughout the day. At Urban 9-5, break chairs are available in industrial styles like bar stools (great for smaller spaces), upholstered armchairs and higher back seats.
The choice of seating you choose will depend on how many people use the break room at any given time. If it's a small space, you can opt for something like an upholstered seat that only requires minimal space to store. Larger spaces may give you more options, including mixing and matching.
When choosing where to place your chairs or seats, don't forget about the natural flow of traffic in and out of the break room area. Chairs should be placed in a way that provides the maximum amount of space for people to walk around before they hit another chair or other piece of furniture. If there's no room to move through, your employees may feel cramped and restricted, which will likely put a damper on their overall break experience.
Break Room Accessories
Break rooms should also be outfitted with all the basic accessories employees need for leisure time, including those related to food and meals. Items that should at least be considered here include:
- A fridge/freezer for employees to store food and drinks
- A two-basin sink for washing hands or dishes
- A microwave for heating up the aforementioned food items
- A coffee machine for coffee breaks
- A soda machine for a cold drink of soda or water during the day (keep in mind any associated costs to use it!)
- Pots, pans and other frying items for employees to make their own food if they choose
For break rooms where food is regularly made and/or eaten, it's also vital to set up some basic ground rules and regulations. These should include things like what's allowed to be brought into the break area and whether or not eating is permitted during work hours. This information will help employees plan out their meals and snacks better, knowing there are some boundaries in place they need to stick to.
Storage is also very important in the break room. Items that should be kept in storage include:
- A set of plates, either plastic or ceramic
- Cups for coffee and soda (you may want to add a few extra mugs as well!)
- Plates, bowls and silverware
- Napkins, tablecloths and other supplies for cleaning up spills
Finally, don't forget about any extra entertainment items you might want to include. Break rooms often have TV's or small gaming consoles like Xbox 360s, PlayStation 3s or the Wii for employees to use during free time -- but these also need to have safe, reliable storage areas that will keep them protected and ensure they aren't damaged through the course of the day, or by office cleaners who come in at night.
For more on how to design a break room for your company that keeps employees relaxed and motivated, or to learn about any of our rustic office furniture pieces, speak to the staff at Urban 9-5 today.