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How to create an effective staff breakout space

11 Jan 2016 9:15 AM

Companies like Google, Amazon and Apple have become famous for creating elaborate staff breakout areas that feature everything from pool tables to nap stations. But you don’t have to break the bank to reap the benefits of creating a staff breakout area in your practice.

With just a few small tweaks to an existing meeting room, or by using a screening solution in an open-plan space, you can give your team a chance to recharge their batteries, build better relationships with each other, and engage in informal collaboration in their own private space.

And you’ll likely get a boost to your bottom line for your efforts – a study by the University of Warwick revealed that happy employees are 12 per cent more productive.

Here are five tips for creating an effective staff breakout space.


1. Create multiple zones

Your staff breakout area should be a flexible space that lends itself to different uses. For example, consider teaming a lounge area for communal catch-ups with a meeting table for informal collaboration and a private area for individual relaxation.


2. Keep work at arm’s length

For your breakout space to be effective, it needs to feel genuinely outside the realm of day-to-day work. Be sure to keep all work related material out of the breakout space, and leave the posting of staff memos, notices and forms to a different central location. The same goes for reading material – newspapers and magazines are good, but leave the professional journals out of break time.


3. Choose music over television

Music can really lift the atmosphere of a staff breakout room and make it a place your staff will covet. If your practice doesn’t lend itself to playing music out loud, consider providing a couple of iPods with headphones as individual listening stations. And resist the urge to put in a television – the idea is to foster short rest breaks, not couch potato behaviour.


4. Use plants and natural textures

Indoor plants are an excellent design feature that will give your staff breakout room a more homely feel, and have a calming effect on your team. Also use natural textures such as timber stools, wool cushions and even astroturf rugs to increase the mood-lifting connection with nature. Natural light is also a great addition where possible.


5. Provide healthy snacks

Investing in a good coffee machine will keep your staff feeling valued, and providing free breakfast cereals and healthy fruit baskets in the staff breakout room will guarantee that it becomes a central gathering point. You might even find that your employees start showing up earlier for a pre-work hangout.

Check out our Pinterest board for design inspiration or call us now on 1300 122 774 for a helping hand.