Category: Interior

Ideas for your Office Breakout Area

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

The ‘comparehemarket.com’ common room has a putting green in it to help staff relax on their break.

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.

Glass partitioning

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.

Company branding

The breakout area can be a place to have some fun with the company branding, incorporating colour into furniture, soft furnishings and paint finishes.

Recharge rooms

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.

Lounge area

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.

Pods

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
  • Poufs
  • Benches

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.

June 19, 2019 by Sarah Glover 0 Comments

Bringing a community together – The Winter Night Shelter MK

What is the Winter Night Shelter MK

The WNSMK began as a response to urgent need when, during the severe winter of 2010, Milton Keynes Council became aware of a number of homeless people sleeping in bin stores, despite freezing temperatures and thick snow on the ground. At the time the YMCA was the only viable option for many, and with their beds full, a new solution was needed. A conference brought together people from various interested agencies to discuss the issue, and the concept of the Winter Night Shelter MK was born.

The WNSMK supports the homeless in Milton Keynes by providing them with a meal and temporary emergency accommodation. Furthermore, their dedicated welfare team helps people in countless ways, including helping people to access counselling services and medical care, providing access to laundry facilities and clean clothes, advocacy with authorities, the recovery of missing ID, support to apply for jobs and attend interviews, transport to work, help to find family and many other things. They do what is needed for the person who needs their help.

Last winter, the WNSMK closed their 8th season of operation, and it was their busiest season yet, a sign that unfortunately the need for the help they provide continues to grow. Between 1st November last year and 29th March 2019, the WNSMK was assisted by 931 volunteers and served around 11,900 meals over the cold months. The shelter accommodated 114 rough sleepers (99 men and 15 women), an increase of 65% from last year, with 66 of these successfully moved into longer-term accommodation. The WNSMK has also been able to assist their guests successfully in finding permanent employment opportunities.

How Meridian has helped

As a local business, we take pride in helping build the community, bringing opportunities and support wherever we can. Over the years, Meridian has helped WNSMK in different ways.

Late 2018, Meridian Interiors was procured to help fit out a meeting room, needing to be installed in the recently refurbished Unity Park Station in Central Milton Keynes. Alongside the volunteers, we worked tirelessly to provide an area that would be fit to help both the guests and the staff change their lives and others around them.

Take a look at the renovation below:

More recently, family member Carl Tucker completed a double header of both London and MK marathon’s back-to-back, raising almost £800 in support of the WNSMK. Running the London Marathon in just 2 hours 44 minutes. One week later running the MK marathon in just 3 hours 2 minutes. Phewwwww!

All in all, Meridian are constantly looking for ways to help the charities closest to our hearts, as we believe a supportive community, is a happy one!

If you’d like to learn more about the Winter Night Shelter MK or donate for yourself, see their website: https://www.winternightsheltermk.com/

Using Glazed Partitioning within your Office

Open plan offices are common place, due to the benefits gained through the collaboration between individuals and departments, and being able to offer a healthier environment from better ventilation. 

As a result, we are often asked for a solution to keeping the open plan look, feel and benefits, with the addition of smaller break out areas, meeting rooms or individual offices.

As a solution to this, we like to recommend the use of glazed partitions, especially within open plan areas. Glass is ideal for letting the light flow between environments, improving the perception of space. 

One advantage to using glass is that you can use manifestations to control how much light you need to flow through the space or the amount of privacy you need within a room.  Manifestations can also be used to incorporate branding, feature designs or add colour onto the glass.

Another benefit to using glass partitions is having the option to use different lighting and floor coverings within these spaces, which can been seen across the open plan office, adding different layers of texture and improving aesthetics. 

Our Design Team at Meridian Interiors would like the opportunity to discuss how you could benefit from the use of glazed partitioning within your office facility.