Investing in your workspace matters to your staff and can impact the success of your overall company. One important space to consider for your office is an office breakout area.
Our article will explore why you should consider the merits of a breakout space within your workplace, including:
- What is an office breakout area?
- What to include in an office breakout area?
- Office breakout area ideas
- Office breakout area furniture
A 2019 report carried out by Staples found that 68% of staff would feel more valued at work if their organisation invested in their workspace, and as Paul Zollinger-Read, former Bupa Chief Medical Officer so nicely put it “as individual happiness is linked to productivity, satisfaction, and fulfilment – why wouldn’t we invest in our spaces?”
What is an office breakout area?
An office breakout area is an area for employees to take a break from their desks and screen. Within the modern working environment, where much more of our time is spent in front of a screen, it is important for employers to not only provide a breakout area for staff but to encourage its use.
These areas can be versatile and used to not only provide a space for staff to enjoy their lunch (the more traditional reason for creating a breakout space). Office breakout areas also create:
- Informal meeting areas
- Space where people can catch up on their personal ‘life admin’
- An area to socialise with colleagues around a tea-point
- A place to rest their eyes from the screen!
By providing a space that is more relaxed, it gives employees time for rest and rejuvenation throughout the day. Breaks like this are important, as employees can return to their desks revitalised and raring to go. Such breaks in the day can result in better productivity compared to an office where employees never leave their desks!
These areas can also function as an alternative workspace for tasks that require collaborative or creative thinking. Sitting in a more relaxed environment alone or with a colleague, in a separate space away from general office noise, can be beneficial when brainstorming new ideas of having important discussions.
What to include in an office breakout area?
Due to the versatility of these spaces, it is important to consider the office breakout area design so it caters to everybody and works with the existing office.
The available space for your breakout area will depend on the size of your business premises and the number of staff you have. With developments in acoustic screening and pods, you will not need a huge space, particularly if you are an SME employer. The use of acoustic furniture is an ideal way of creating small breakout spaces in pockets around your offices. Pods or booths, as featured below can offer an area where several colleagues can meet, shutting out the background noise.
The acoustic winged chairs used in The Parks Trust atrium in Milton Keynes are a brilliant way of providing relaxing seating, that when you sit back, the cleverly developed wings help block out background noises.
Depending on how you want staff to use the breakout spaces will determine what you should include. As well as the acoustic seating options above, if you have the luxury of a separate room or space for your breakout area, creating different zones could be an option for you.
Office breakout area checklist
- A tea-point or kitchen facility
- Fuctional seating with table for either eating or meetings
- Relaxed seating
- One to one booths
- Quiet working areas
- Social Areas
- A library
- Charging areas (ports for technology devices)
- Games/Chillout space
Office breakout area ideas
In order to transform an office space and improve employee wellbeing, morale and productivity, we have put together some office breakout area ideas from previous client projects. This small selection illustrates the different look and feel that can be created within a breakout area.
Elements that can be incorporated within these breakout spaces are outlined below.
To provide an element of separation, but to ensure light flows into the breakout space, using glass partitioning can form an attractive and practical solution.
The breakout area can be a place to have some fun with the company branding, incorporating colour into furniture, soft furnishings and paint finishes.
Creating a sanctuary of calm among a vibrant and busy office can provide an area for staff to recharge their batteries and take a break.
You may find in a larger company that a lot of staff go off-site for lunch, to either a coffee shop or sandwich bar. If space allows, creating a lounge area with a coffee shop vibe can encourage staff to socialise with each other during their downtime, form better working relationships with colleagues.
These self-contained areas for smaller offices, can provide a private area to carry out work in peace, make a sensitive phone call or have a meeting with a colleague.
Office Breakout Area Furniture
Selecting furniture for your office breakout area design will depend on what you plan to include.
Types of furniture to be incorporated would ideally include:
- Breakfast bar
- Sofas and relaxed seating
- Low coffee tables
As with all office design, considerations to natural light, ventilation, and foot flow all come into play when designing a breakout area, so it is sensible to seek advice from a specialist office fit-out company when planning to incorporate this type of space into your office.
Explore our office fit out and refurbishment services today to learn more about how we can transform your space.