Boosting Productivity, Part 4: The Break Room Bump

October 11, 2017

Creative business team discussing while having meal in office

Looking for another way to boost productivity? Studies show that productivity increases when employees can step away from work and get a mental break. After all, people can only be productive for 90-120 minutes before they need to recharge their mental batteries. Ideally, you want to provide your employees a break room that is comfortable and inviting, with a variety of snacks so they can recharge without having to leave the office.


Here are a few tips to designing an ideal break room, which will not only help revitalize your employees, but can also lead to productive interdepartmental discussions.


  1. Free coffee. Coffee is an office staple for a few reasons, as cited by “Caffeine increases attention spans, improves focus, and boosts mental energy so your workers can work more and feel rewarded while doing so. Plus, coffee is relatively inexpensive, so it’s a small investment for a potentially large return.” Of course you’ll want to make sure to include all the extras: sugar, cream, cups, stirrers, etc. For bonus points, spend a little extra for great coffee. Any coffee will be appreciated, but great coffee will be seen as a perk and it will cut down on Starbucks runs. Again—try to keep your employees in house as much as possible.


  1. Healthy food options. It’s ok to have candy bars and ice cream, but workers really do want healthy options like nuts, whole grains, yogurt, and fresh vegetables. The healthy options won’t lead to sugar crash that you get from sugary treats.


  1. Lunch tables. Obviously you want your employees to be able to eat in the building, but you also want to encourage them to not eat at their desks. Productive discussions often happen when employees sit together and enjoy each other’s company.


  1. Make it different. It may seem unnecessary or excessive, but the décor in your break room should be different from the rest of your office to encourage the sense that employees are “leaving work behind”—if only for a few minutes. You want your employees to relax when they are on break. Make the décor interesting, for example, using bright colors.


  1. Offer games. This may seem very 1990s-Silicon-valley, but games give people a chance to unwind and recharge as a group/collective. Think billiards, foosball, air hockey, chess/checkers, etc. Have tournaments.


  1. Comfortable seating. It may cost more, but offering comfortable furniture—even a couch or two—will help workers relax and recharge.


  1. This isn’t for every business (TVs are expensive), but they can be extremely valuable. You don’t need to offer premium cable: just local broadcast channels are enough for workers to feel more informed about the worldly and local events. Plus, if there’s a special, important daytime TV event, it can be a great team experience to allow workers to watch it together.


  1. Birthdays and celebrations. Break rooms should be a great place to house celebrations; the more your employees associate the room with positive experiences, the more that room will have positive, relaxing benefits for your workers.


  1. Take requests. Ask your employees what they want in a break room and try to accommodate them. This builds a bond between you and your employees by creating a more effective break room for your company.


Implementing these tips will give your employees a much-needed place to recharge their batteries and aid with employee retention. For more tips on increasing productivity in your workplace, contact Vanguard Resources.