As much as we love our old, stained coffee cups, uninterrupted work cramps productivity and hurts employee happiness. Taking a much needed break from staring at our computer screens increases focus, productivity, and the well-being of employees. Creating a welcoming breakroom setting is important to any workplace.
You don’t want to retreat to a dingy breakroom with fluorescent lighting, with those soggy, cone-shaped disposable water cups. Depressing! Making your breakroom a relaxing retreat is an art. Many employers disregard the need for a space in the office to recharge, but they should think twice.
You don’t have to hire professional massage therapists to give your employees a spot to relax. GOS offers tips below, as well a crash course on breakroom etiquette, to help you give your employees a place to unwind.
Breakroom Do’s and Don’ts
Arguably, the most important rule-of-thumb to keep in mind when creating a great breakroom space is breakroom etiquette—setting up boundaries between employees.
Nobody really wants to talk about all the ways you will annoy your coworkers by not cleaning out the office microwave. But once the rules and boundaries are set, everyone will be happier.
So what are the do’s and don’ts of the breakroom?
First, the obvious: don’t eat the lunch with someone else’s name on it. Unless it’s Chad. Chad has been daring you to eat his dinner leftovers since he arrived in Accounting last winter.
But you should probably also decide who is in charge of making the coffee and replenishing the midday snacks.
Assigning breakroom tasks can be a great way to build team unity. Scheduling a monthly meeting to decide whether to order more creamer or Diet Cokes for your office supply delivery is a fantastic way to get to know more about your coworkers.
Other good breakroom etiquette: if you make a mess, clean it up. If you notice that the paper towel roll is gone, go ahead and replace it.
And, for all that’s good and sacred, throw away your used K cups. Your coworkers might even name you employee of the month.
But what else makes a great breakroom beside good etiquette?
Having up-to-date breakroom appliances may not seem worth it in the short-term, but it saves money in the long run and goes a long way toward making happy employees.
Ditch the white college-dorm fridge for a shiny stainless steel beauty. Maybe even spring for one with an icemaker and water dispenser.
Buying a new fridge or dishwasher for your office breakroom goes a long way in showing your employees that you care.
Office Breakroom Snacks
No one wants to work with a hangry employee. Remember when you stole Chad’s lunch, and for the rest of the day he sulked around the office like the Incredible Hulk with a hangover?
Having a variety of midday snacks for the office not only benefits your employee’s physical health, but their emotional health as well.
Small, nutritious snacks like an apple or a protein bar helps your employees keep their blood sugar up over the course of the work day. Replenished employees are productive employees.
Bottled Water for the Office
Above we discussed ditching those cone-shaped cups that have been a staple of the office cooler for far too long. While switching to bottled water certainly sounds enticing, we are also aware of their harmful environmental impact. You can ditch the disposable cups and water bottles by offering your employees reusable water bottles.
Your employees can have fun customizing their water bottles, letting their personalities shine through.
Think about introducing breakroom activities from cornhole to a reading room (spend the money on switching out your magazines—you’re not a dentist’s office. Unless of course, you are a dentist’s office. But, even if you’re a dentist’s office, no one wants to read a Sports Illustrated from 1998!)
Feel free to brainstorm with coworkers and employees on what they would like to do during their breaks. Maybe playing Jenga is their thing. Maybe they hate Jenga. Maybe they have an “it’s complicated” relationship with Jenga. The point is: the options are endless when it comes to creating a fun breakroom space.