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My break room is better than yours

29 September, 2015

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Date of Publication: 29 September, 2015
So often overlooked, yet fundamental: break rooms are essential to the office life. Google has it (well, Google has a theme park with no lines, basically). Yelp has it. These hip companies are able to retain people in markets plagued with high turn over by offering them a valuable space that eases the daily work life.

But what should a break room feature? Especially if your company does not have room enough, you have to play your cards carefully.

  1. Food
    Provide free coffee (at least american coffee, relatively freshly brewed), healthy snacks and… tables. This way, workers can address their hunger, and share they breaks so that eventually even the quickest stop-over can turn into an informal meeting. And from meetings, ideas come!
  2. Games
    Break rooms can easily turn into your in-house team building events, scheduled to take place everyday. You won’t need much: table tennis or table soccer are a perfect choice, for example. They don’t last too long, so that the break won’t result in a wasted afternoon, they can be played by 4 people at a time, they involve a modest yet effective physical activity.

    You can also have board games, of course, but be sure not to feature those that require a long playing time. The break will be stretched too much, people could feel guilty and from guilt descend furthermore stress.
  3. Decoration
    The break room must not be a simple extension of the rest of the building. It must not be read as “office”, especially if your company tends to be strict. Lively colours, posters, ideas, gadgets, small sofas… everything to create a good atmosphere.


3 simple points that can make your company achieve so much: a study by Staples Advantage states that “stepping away from work in nearby break rooms helps foster productivity by allowing healthy mental breaks”. To this day and age, there are still a good 85% of employees around the world who don’t take any breaks because they would feel “guilty”. That’s why it is so important for a company to be the perfect break host, especially now that job-related stress is so alarmingly high. As professor John Trougakos (University of Toronto) says: “these (stress) costs can be reduced with regular work breaks, while improving employee effectiveness, satisfaction, and reducing strain and fatigue”.

So, you may not have Google’s, but your break room is as vital to your company as any.

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