Your Office Needs Breakout Areas.
We discussed the importance of good office interior design in boosting collaboration between employees in the last post. Now let’s look at spaces that help employees interact in an informal setting – the breakout areas in your office.
Soundcloud’s Berlin Headquarters. Source: officelovin.com
Breakout areas are crucial to increasing engagement and getting your employees to collaborate and come up with new ideas. They’re places where your team members can take a break from their project, grab a coffee, sit and have a casual chat with people from other teams. They can also use these areas to have a quick lunch, so you’re reducing pressure on your cafeteria.
Besides, it gives them a break from their computer screens and a distraction from that Excel file they’ve been stuck on all morning. It’s also great for their well-being; informal spaces help employees destress.
What makes for a well-designed breakout space?
LinkedIn’s office at Sunnyvale, California. Source: officelovin.com
Open spaces. Don’t wall in your breakout areas – otherwise they’re regular meeting rooms, associated with formal meetings and fixed agendas. People won’t casually walk into one of these to take a ten-minute break from work.
Coffee machines, fresh fruit and water. Maybe even a micro-kitchen nearby. Make the space welcoming; it’ll give them a reason to sit down and chill for a few minutes.
The Zoopla office in London. Source: officesnapshots.com
Vary the look and decor. Do not use the same chairs and tables that you’re using elsewhere in the office and meeting rooms. Use brighter colors for the walls and furniture. Make the lighting brighter.
Supporting Fittings. Electrical sockets, side tables, maybe a glass-covered wall around for employees to scribble on.
WeWork’s coworking space at Tower Bridge, London. Source: officesnapshots.com
Add some green. Planters are a great way to add life to your office.
Provide entertainment. If you’ve got space to spare, put a TT table or a foosball table – they’re cheaper than you think. If the breakout space is in a quieter part of the office, put some quick board games or even a Jenga set – Jenga’s only noisy once every few minutes (followed by loud groans.)