Some of the most effective ways to improve office morale are surprisingly simple. 70 percent of today’s employees report that managers who say “thank you” have a “massive” impact on morale and productivity. Organizations who communicate appreciation in creative ways, such as a well-stocked break room, can gain an advantage when it comes to engaged, productive employees.
Improving your break room to become a creative, cultural hub could be one of the most important initiatives you undertake this year. Read on to discover research that confirms the value of investing in your break room.
7 Ways a Better Break Room Improves Office Morale
1. Reinforce Cultural Values
Agility is a concept that can benefit brands of any size, from lean startups to massive multi-national corporations. It’s a core cultural value for Chinese retailer Wal-Mao, who reinforces these values through breakroom posters and images.
Breakroom design and decor can be powerhouse tools for communicating the values that matter to your brand. PopCap communicates their value of fun with razor scooters, while Xero emphasizes connectivity with a synchronized 11 a.m. coffee break.
2. Encourage a Wellness Culture
Stress is definitely bad for your health, and a break room that’s an energizing retreat can decrease occupational stress. However, companies that value health can also communicate this through their break room design and food choices.
One researcher cited several ways that both the break room and break room refreshments can improve office morale and support corporate wellness initiatives, including the decision to offer complimentary fresh fruit, protein bars, and healthier beverage choices. LL Bean’s wellness initiative is called “Healthy Bean.” It includes a requirement that 40 percent of snacks offered on-site meet health criteria.
3. Ground Zero for Culture Hacking
One expert analysis on changes in the nursing profession called for a cultural change in how nurses view their own role and stated these changes need to occur throughout the organization–including the break room.
Culture hacking is an informal, grassroots approach to change. When employees feel free to collaborate, innovate and experiment, the organizational results can be remarkable. Creating a formal space for informal collaboration is an important step towards hacking your culture.
4. Foster Informal Learning Events
Knowledge management experts are increasingly realizing that informal learning from colleagues may have just as great of an impact on employee skills as classroom training. The “new insights” occur “as a result of informal social interaction,” a concept one team of researchers deemed “informal learning events.”
Coffee breaks and conversations around the cold brew kegerator are not just important tools for de-stressing and making friends. These talks could be invaluable tools for continuing education and morale.
5. Facilitate Workplace Flexibility
Creating a flexible workplace where employees have autonomy is crucial, especially for today’s multi-generational, multi-cultural talent force. TalentScience writes this flexibility isn’t optional and states creating a culture of flexibility is linked to:
- Employee satisfaction
- Better talent
- Lower turnover rates
- Facilitating trust
Break rooms can emphasize flexibility by offering comfortable seating and communal tables that support eating together and collaboration. A wide array of healthy office snacks and instant coffee pods show your employees you’re committed to offering choice. With break rooms like this, it’s apparent to your talent that they’re free to work, collaborate, eat, and relax in any way they want.
6. Further Workplace Inclusion
Inclusion initiatives are key to engaging a diverse workforce. Your break room design and offerings speak volumes about which employees you value. A research article on workplace inclusion for individuals with disabilities spoke to the importance of break room accessibility as a measure of integration. Break rooms shouldn’t just be stylish and functional, they should be designed in a way that makes everyone at work feel like they’re welcome to relax.
7. Support Fun at Work
The SAS Institute, a statistical software company, is frequently identified among lists of the best employers including a #15 ranking on Fortune’s 2017 list. Their break rooms are always stocked with snacks, which range from fresh fruit on Mondays to “M&M Wednesdays.”
Reportedly, their staff consumed 22.5 tons of M&M candies last year. While break room food is only one part of the fun, passionate culture at SAS, it’s one that can have a massive impact on efforts to improve office morale.
The Best Break Room Offerings for 2018
Coffee, beverages and a wide range of exceptional snack foods can go a long way in improving employee perception of your break space. A few of the best break room offerings from Corporate Essentials include:
- Coffee: Elevate your offerings with eco-friendly single-serve pods, luxe whole bean roast and kegerators of nitro cold brew on tap.
- Cold Beverages: Single-serve bottled beverages like coconut water, cold-pressed juices and probiotic kombucha are healthy alternatives to the classic cup of coffee.
- Classic Snacks: Frito-Lay chips, Nabisco cookies, Nutella and Chex Mix are a perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
- Healthy Fare: Fresh fruit, Chef’s Cut Turkey Teriyaki jerky, Bear Naked granola and Calbee Snapea crisps are all great options.
Better Break Room, Better Morale
Improving your break room and break room offerings can be a powerful way to say “thank you” to your talent. The right space stocked with the right snacks and drinks can be a cultural hub for informal learning, culture hacking, inclusivity and fun at work. Fortunately, the choice to elevate your break room offerings can fit almost any budget.
Corporate Essentials offers a variety of refreshments and break room supplies through many different national and regional partnerships for beloved snacks, drinks, paper goods and other essentials. As culture hacking experts, our consultation service offerings also extend to break room design projects that lead to a dramatic morale boost.