By Anica Oaks
Proper rest and meal breaks are vital for a productive staff. They’re also mandated by law in each of the 50 states, with most states requiring at least a 20-minute break by the fifth hour of a shift. To boost morale, however, employers should take it one step further by creating a comfortable atmosphere in the break room. While some employees will prefer eating at their desk, the break room should be an inviting space with proper amenities that foster relaxation so employees can truly recharge their minds and bodies.
Large companies like Google and Facebook are known for their lavish break rooms replete with large-screen televisions, pool tables and sectionals, with the objective of exceeding basic needs to keep workers happy and feeling valued. Granted, most companies don’t have millions of dollars or comparable space to devote to the break room, but the underlying objective should still stand. Below are four features every break room should have.
Folding tables and chairs might be the most convenient and economical option, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best when it comes to break room furniture. The following are a few points to consider in your selection:
- Comfort. Ergonomically designed chairs, or at the very least padded seating, should be the first choice.
- Aesthetics. This should apply to the break room overall. Sterile or dull colors are depressing, as are the bland designs of folding furniture. The room should feel inviting and offer a different atmosphere from the work space.
- Size. This factor is contingent upon space, but a few small tables foster more social engagement.
- Durability. The furniture should be easy to clean and able to withstand constant use, which is why it’s better to shop at stores specializing in office furniture rather than a general furniture store.
A sofa also serves as a place for employees to relax if they’re taking a rest period instead of a full meal break.
Having a television in the break room is a good distraction that can stave off mental fatigue. Employers can choose to offer only the broadcast networks or sign up for a basic cable plan that features a sports network, news programming and a movie channel.
Whether it’s drinks or something to nosh on, vending machines are a must in every break room. If an employee’s on a 10-minute break, they won’t have time to leave the premises to buy something or finish the lunch they packed. Having a vending machine stacked with a variety of drinks and snacks is a great convenience. They’re also a way to earn additional revenue for the company via the rent paid by the vending machine owners.
Alternatively, companies can choose to supply their own machines for the break room. You can lease or buy used vending machines from a company like Westway Sales that offers a wide range of machines as well as parts for servicing, thereby eliminating the middleman.
The last and arguably most important requirement for a break room is a coffee machine. According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans are admittedly addicted to coffee. More than 50 percent of those surveyed have at least one cup a day with most coffee drinkers averaging almost three cups a day. Providing free coffee or other hot beverages for your employees is a simple way to demonstrate your appreciation. The money they’ll be saving is an added bonus.
When designing and furnishing a break room, the goal in mind should always be creating a space clearly differentiated from the work environment where employees can recharge. The more inviting the space, the happier the employee.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.