The Importance of Break Rooms for Employee Satisfaction, Productivity, and Wellness
Since the rise of the modern office building, the water cooler has been the place where colleagues congregate to discuss the topics of the day: the big game, the latest television twist, or weekend plans. Over time, the simple water cooler has evolved, and most workplaces contain some sort of break room/kitchen area where employees can refresh themselves, at least with food and drink.
Employers may have once decried the time that employees spent away from their desks or workspaces, chatting with co-workers instead of “working.” However, several studies have shown that water cooler chats actually improve productivity—by as much as 15 percent! Rather than discouraging water cooler chat, employers should encourage it with break rooms that attract employees. To maximize the benefits from your break room, consider these tips:
- Make it pleasant. In the past, break rooms were created from leftover space with leftover furniture and appliances. However, it pays to invest a little to make your break room more attractive: paint the walls with cheery colors, provide artwork, and encourage employee participation by making it a place they will enjoy.
- Make it collaborative. Some of the most important skills in today’s world are communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Design your break room to encourage these skills by providing tables and groupings of comfortable chairs and couches.
- Make it healthy. Provide a range of food options (without excessive sugar or fat) to help satisfy employees’ hunger. USConnect’s The Right Choice … for a Healthier You™ program helps workers stay healthy by providing accessible nutritional information and an easy-to-find logo.
- Make it sustainable. If feasible, provide non-disposable dishes and cutlery and a sink for washing-up. At a minimum, provide recycling options. Sustainability is increasing important, especially among millennial workers.
Job stress is a drain on worker productivity, not to mention happiness. Lessen the load with a break room, and reap the rewards!