Companies urged to create relaxation spaces

Companies urged to create relaxation spaces

Relaxation at work

The traditional company premises might comprise: a reception area, the main open-plan office where most of the staff work, some individual offices for senior management, a few meeting rooms, and a kitchen.

However, an increasing number of companies are realising that there could be benefits to creating a room which can be used as a relaxation space, and which might be referred to as a ‘break room’, ‘social room’ or ‘breakout area’.

These spaces should allow employees to relax at lunchtimes, or during any mid-morning or mid-afternoon break, or before the start of normal working hours should they arrive early. The break room might include:

  • A TV
  • Tables and dining chairs
  • Sofas and easy chairs
  • Computers on which games can be played, and social media and non-work related sites can be accessed
  • Pool tables
  • Board games & packs of playing cards
  • Gym mats and simple gym equipment

Ideally, the break room will be decorated in a different way from the main office, otherwise staff may see it as merely being an extension of the office. It is also desirable if the room enjoys plenty of natural light and a good view. Additionally, the room should ideally be in a central location, so it isn’t too far from anyone’s workstation.

As well as helping staff to relax, break rooms can encourage interaction between different staff, especially those who might not work in the same business area, as they would then bump into each other in the break room. Companies may also find that a break room encourages their staff to become more creative – ideas can be exchanged whilst relaxing and chatting together.

Break rooms can also be used for informal company events, such as awards presentations, quizzes and employees’ birthday celebrations. Holding events like this encourages staff to see the break room as a place of positivity.

In a study by office design company Dale Office Interiors one in five (19.5%) of those surveyed said that having space in which to relax at work was important for boosting their productivity.

Employers’ organisation Business in the Community, supported by Public Health England, has made a series of recommendations, which include:

  • Employees should be provided with areas for rest
  • Managers should be trained to spot signs of sleep deprivation
  • Companies should share advice on how to get a good night’s sleep, such as having a fixed bedtime, and not checking emails or anything else on a smartphone once in bed

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