A business’s break room can be an important part of employee productivity, especially if your employees are coached to work smarter and take lots of breaks.
Too many break rooms are small, dingy, have one tiny microwave that no one has ever cleaned out, and serve only coffee from a vending machine. Who wants to spend time in such a place? Up to two-thirds of workers either skip lunch or eat it at their desk, completely boycotting their company break room. So give your employees a break in the break room with these ideas:
1. Free coffee and tea
Wouldn’t it be great be able to sit down in a comfortable break room with a good cup of coffee, or a good cup of green tea? Tea varieties can range from Green tea to the more adventurous Chaga tea and each have some incredible health benefits. In fact, many varieties of both coffee and tea are valuable business productivity aids, especially during a transitional weather month like March.
Many businesses already offer free coffee and tea in their break rooms. Not only does this send a very clear message to employees that their wants are recognized, but it also saves time by eliminating the interminable haggling and calculating that occurs when the employees have to pitch in and buy coffee and tea themselves for the break room. Anyone who has participated in that knows what a morale dampener it can be.
2. Sturdy, sound lunch tables
Trying to eat on a wobbly table is pretty funny – when it’s happening to another person. Don’t forget to have comfortable chairs to go along with the tables. Employees expect good chairs at their desks, so why not at the lunch table?
3. Soothing color scheme
Make a complete break with the rest of your office decor in the break room. Use a soothing color scheme, one that is noticeably different from your office area. That way employees can feel a definite change of pace, almost like walking out of the building.
4. Stress-relieving games
This will help to relieve stress, plus it can help build a spirit of teamwork amongst employees when they take a few minutes to play a game of Foosball.
5. Interesting or useful decor
Along with the color scheme, make sure the break room is an interesting place in and of itself. A few green plants will perk it up at very little expense. Break rooms are a good place (and in some states, they are the legally mandated place) to put up rules about employee conduct and worker’s compensation, but don’t let it stop there. Put up some colorful posters and invite employees to bring their children’s artwork to display on a specially designated section of one of the walls. This will help to make the break room feel like a comfortable and more personal space.
6. Healthy snacks
Whether you offer them free of charge or put them in a vending machine is up to you; just make sure you are offering more than sugary carbonated drinks, salty chips, and candy bars. There are a variety of healthy office snacks, from nuts to popcorn, which can be conveniently supplied to your break room.
7. A news source
We live in an information age, and if you don’t provide some kind of legitimate news source for your employees in the break room they are simply going to use their mobile devices at their desks to find out what’s going on in the world when they should be working. If your business can afford it, have a television or two installed, restricted to a sports or news channel. At the very least, have some up-to-date newspapers available in the break room.
8. Paper goods and supplies
Your break room should be user-friendly, meaning that employees will want to have birthday, going-away, and holiday parties in the break room, not at some bar down the street after work. Provide plastic cutlery and paper plates and cups so that all the employees have to do is provide the cake and ice cream (and make sure you keep plenty of dish soap on hand by the sink so the dirty dishes never pile up.)
Above all else, ask your employees what they would like to see in their break room—if employee retention is important to you. Remember, the average employee only stays at his or her job 4.4 years. You can increase that number with a better break room experience. As Kathryn Minshew says, “Understanding your employee’s perspective can go a long way towards increasing productivity and happiness.”
Featured photo credit: Mans Hand Holding Coffee Cup On White Background via stokpic.com