If you’ve spent any time in the American workplace, you understand that the office break room has a strange and powerful push and pull effect on office culture and morale of a certain company. This is especially the case in areas like New Jersey and New York, where there are companies of all different sizes, accomplishing all sorts of things in close proximity of one another. A proper break room can be a place of relaxation, rejuvenation and refreshment for New Jersey businesses.

Maybe it’s a place of constant joking, laughter and merriment. Perhaps your break room has gone over to the darker side of complaining and gossip. There are many styles of culture that can evolve from the break room.

Because of this, it should be extremely important to the leadership of a business to create a space of positivity and growth rather than negativity and endless complaints. This is an easy way for management to have an effect on the morale of a company.

The break room is also a place where management can meet, greet and eat with the rest of the company employees. It opens up communication between the executives and those working for them and allows them to be more approachable.

Because the office break room holds such an important role in improving office culture and morale (and therefore engagement and productivity), it should be something that leaders constantly examine and work on. Having an office break room that is inviting and is filled with healthy snacks and coffee can really help the overall well-being and morale of employees.

Over the years, the idea of a break room has evolved and has become an inviting, comfortable and flexible location for employees. It provides them with a place to relax and go to when they need a mental break, go to for a snack or even a place to complete their work or collaborate with others on their team.

1. Creates a Sense of Community

There is little doubt that having a communal break room can encourage interaction between employees. We all have the tendency to stick within our own departments and stay with the people we know best.

This often creates a divided culture and can even lend to an “us vs. them” mentality. Rather than getting stuck in the daily grind, having a non-work related conversation with someone throughout the day can easily improve the overall moods of employees.

In a break room, coworkers are able to gather, relax and bond together in this office break room and truly strengthen company relationships. When a workplace has an office break room, it also allows employees to chat with someone they would have otherwise not had the opportunity to interact with.

Being that humans are creatures of habit, we often tend to take breaks at around the same times each day. This means potentially running into Sam from Accounting or Dawn from Sales each day.

This can then begin to evolve into a daily conversation. This builds relationships between departments, which is hard to replicate in any other way. Relationships between departments mean increased overall company morale and community.

2. Breaks down Barriers

To further elaborate, it’s very natural for people in different departments to have minimal interaction with one another. This often happens within the workplace as employees get caught up in the work they do and focus on their own tasks.

The good news is, with a break room, these self-inflicted and somewhat harmful boundaries can quickly diminish. People that work within the same company need to realize that there are others involved in the overall function of a company.

There is a bigger picture of what is happening. When you have a friend in IT, you’re less likely to complain and lambaste the department when your computer begins to give your problems. Instead, you may feel more comfortable approaching them with the issue.

When you have coffee with someone from Human Resources each morning, you may have a better understanding of the inner workings of workplace laws and technicalities. With strengthened relationships, it absolutely aids with overall company growth.

Anything that leadership can do to break down barriers within their organization will result in a positive effect throughout. With these newly formed bonds comes trust and team building – and that’s never a bad thing!

3. Free Snacks

One idea that many companies are jumping on board with is offering free snacks and beverages to their employees. Obviously, this allows your workers to feel appreciated and is a small way to show you value their time and efforts within the workplace environment. It’s also great for employees to be able to get their snack fix within the office, without forcing them to venture outside and potentially face the all too common New Jersey traffic and delays.

Little details like this make a big impact on the overall happiness of employees. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to work hard which can ultimately affect your bottom dollar.

When employees have connections and feel appreciated, the engagement in their work increases. Highly engaged employees translates to high numbers and efficiency for those running the company. And it comes with great coffee – a win-win for everyone!

4. Encourages Mental Breaks

Everyone needs a mental break. No matter how much your employees love their jobs, no matter how satisfied they are and how driven they feel to complete their tasks and perform highly, they need a mental break in order to stay positive, focused and effective.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they feel like they have the space and ability to take these breaks in a positive and meaningful way. What it comes down to is by giving your employees a specific area in which they can step back and take a mental break, they are more likely to be productive.

It is amazing to note that by just walking to the break room for a quick snack, employees get the mini-mental break they need to stay on the top of their game. It’s been said that taking a small break even once an hour can boost productivity immensely.

Create a break room or space that is comfortable, welcoming and visually appealing. Make sure the seats are cozy enough for them to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or a healthy snack before jumping back into their projects at hand. As they leave this oasis away from their desk and return to their workspaces, they can feel ready to go with a renewed sense of energy.

5. Helps Avoid Burn-Outs

Management knows hiring people consistently costs the company more money and more time in the long run. It is definitely in a company’s best interest to keep good talent around rather than seeing a revolving door of burned out employees replaced by wide-eyed recent graduates.

Knowing this, leadership should remember that it is not healthy for anyone to work a straight 8 hour work day with no mental break. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that while under the pressure of meeting deadlines and getting work done, it’s easy for employees to burn out if they go without a break.

A burn out can negatively affect productivity, moods, wellness and can create many other issues. It affects a company’s profits as well as morale. An easy way to encourage employees to head over to the break room is by stocking up with healthy snacks and beverages for employees to sit back and enjoy.

You may want to consider hiring a company that specializes in stocking these products for you. This allows you to focus your time and attention in areas you do best while trusting the experts to create a space of delicious nutrition and relaxation for your employees.

6. Promotes Healthy Living

It may feel like this doesn’t relate back to work, but whether or not your employees eat healthy food and maintain a healthy lifestyle really does affect the overall company. If your employees buy into the healthy living lifestyle, it can affect your insurance costs, your culture and your morale.

Keep in mind, a wellness initiative such as this can help reduce insurance costs, sure, but it also keeps your employees happier, healthier and focused on the jobs for which you hired them. Employees who already actively live a healthy lifestyle will appreciate having healthy snack options.

This is a bonus and a shout out to their already healthy eating. In addition to bringing smiles to the faces of your health gurus, by offering a place with healthy snacks in a central location it encourages other employees, the ones who may have not already been making healthy eating choices, to live a healthier, happier life as well. You could be providing them with the extra push of encouragement they need!

7. Attracts Great Talent

Millennials are new to the workforce and are quickly taking over the workplace. These new and creative talents look for specific aspects when choosing a company to work for – and they are great at voicing their opinions about it.

These young and usually well-educated people expect more perks and comforts than most employees have been used to receiving in the past. If someone your new hire knows, has a job at a company that boasts a remarkable space for relaxing and rejuvenation, you may hear about it.

Or, worse, you may lose that employee to the competing company. Break room perks such as free, quality coffee, healthy and convenient snacks and an overall great space to relax is important to these individuals. They look around at their friend’s workplaces and they compare.

By providing these perks to your employees, you easily stand out in the eyes of these potential employees. If you are looking for the best, you have to give them the best. These perks can truly attract top talent and it can easily improve your company culture and growth.

8. Removes the Tense Vibe

We all know what all work and no plays does. And you don’t want your business to be a dull place of employment. Work doesn’t need to be a strictly tense environment.

Ideally, it shouldn’t be tense or stressful at all. High levels of stress increase medical and insurance costs, affect absences of your employees and contribute to burnouts. To offset this, consider focusing attention on the perks and benefits of working in your building.

By simply offering your employees a break room, you can make it clear to them that you value their peace of mind as well. It encourages them to use this area.

Make the area a casual environment. Invest in quality, comfortable and visually appealing furniture. Provide a Bluetooth speaker or play popular music. Consider going as far as providing iPads or tablets with simple games or news stories.

Some businesses have bought into the lending library trend where employees can take or leave favorite books. This shouldn’t be a place to bring problems and work drama.

It’s a place of relaxation and enjoyment…somewhere your employees can look forward to going to. Happy and healthy employees take pride in their work.

They are anxious to do well and perform well. Employees under good management will be able to use this space as it’s meant to be used; a space for small, energizing breaks to restore the mind and soul.

9. Creates a Brainstorming Environment

Imagine this: Your employees, from different areas of your company, are sitting in your newly remodeled break room. They’ve come here, away from their individual projects, to grab a caffeine fix and a snack to tide them over until lunch.

They are sitting in the colorfully coordinated cushioned chairs, enjoying a moment of relaxation. One person says something that sparks interest in another. Then they all begin talking, discussing a various problem in the firm that affects all of them.

Suddenly, this social, fun environment has become a haven for idea-sparking and problem-solving. Socializing in a break room can lead to unexpected creative ideas. Collaborations can easily happen when feeling relaxed and at ease.

There is no pressure when you are enjoying a cup of coffee! There is no heavyweight of expectation for your employees to solve the problems of the world – or even of your company.

But this lack of pressure is exactly what can drive unexpected creativity. By simply offering a safe and calm place for people to gather, you’ve encouraged this construction of a brainstorming community.

10. Freedom to Choose Where to Work

Walk into any modern classroom and you may find something very interesting.  There is a new trend going on in education all over the country. You may find there are no desks.

There could be standing desks with stools, comfortable cushions with clipboards, wobbling chairs and small couches. Some teachers are making the leap in allowing their students to make a decision on where and how they complete their work.

This could work the same way in the workplace. By offering the choice to your employees on where and how they complete their work, it creates a casual environment. This gives your employees a sense of freedom and flexibility in their work.

Gone are the days of employees sitting behind their desks for the entire workday. Research has proven that this isn’t the best way to get a high level of productivity from workers. It can have a negative effect on health, morale, mental creativity and collaboration.

Jump on the bandwagon early and switch it up! Give your employees a change of scenery. Allow them to choose to work in the break room instead of behind their desk. Create a large and inviting space. Use a variety of seating to appeal to a variety of types of workers.

Some may prefer the table and chair model while others may opt for a more casual seating style. Whatever their choice, this type of freedom can give your office a more casual environment that many employees tend to appreciate.

A 5-star break room goes beyond simply allowing your employees to feel more comfortable and giving them incredible perks and amazing coffee. It is about creativity and collaboration.

It’s about appealing to the new college graduates who are coming out of an educational system, bucking traditional trends, making changes and solving problems. It’s about creating a culture of positivity, fun, engagement and productivity.

Think about changing up the space of your break room. The small, corner, windowless space with a small microwave and a fridge hardly bigger than the one you had in your college dorm just isn’t cutting it anymore. Those folding chairs and portable tables don’t genuinely show that your employees are a priority.

It’s time to redo and replace. Open up the space, find somewhere with windows and a lot of light. If you have a building with many floors, consider offering a space for each of the floors. Don’t forget to ask for the advice of those experienced in break room redesign, specifically with spaces in New Jersey, like Corporate Essentials.

The use of color, textiles and hard surfaces speak almost as loudly as the offering of coffee, drinks and healthy snacks. Show your employees you value them by offering them a superior space for them to relax and renew. You won’t be sorry you did.

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Judson Kleinman

About Judson Kleinman

As the founder and CEO of Corporate Essentials, Judson set out with every intention of bringing a new meaning to the words "office culture". As leaders in the industry, his company constantly sets the bar by investing in, and improving their product offerings, technology, people and training. 20 years and 1500 clients later, Judson can proudly say that Corporate Essentials continues to positively fuel culture and allow over 150,000 employees to work happy.