In today’s work culture, work-life balance can be a challenge. Employees will feel very appreciated if they know they have a place to just sit and think, meditate, read, or take a cat nap. A small amount of “me” time goes a long way. Furthermore, employees who feel appreciated will be more productive. In response to this need, some businesses create quiet rooms for their employees. Quiet rooms are places office workers can go to get away from the stress of work.
It should be stressed that having a quiet room for employees is more of a comfort factor but having a clean private place for employees to pump breast milk is required by law. In a small business, a quiet room can be used by both nursing moms as well as everyday workers who want time to reflect.
Steps necessary to create a quiet or recharge room
Here are some ideas for creating a quiet room in your office:
Find an unused room
Unless you have a very small office, more than likely there is a room that is not used often or an “extra” room in your office environment. Ensure there is an electrical outlet (must have for breast pump needs), and choose this room for your quiet room.
Clean the room
Clean the room out if it’s full of items that are not in use. For example, if you are keeping old files or antiquated paper work, or old furniture you don’t need or use, get rid of it and create a clean, simple space.
Install a lock or an “in use” sign
Be sure the room can lock, and/or that it has the ability to show “in use.” Using a regular lock can be a solution, or putting a sign on the door that says “in use” or “vacant” could work.
Place a chair or a comfortable couch in the room. One other option is a bean bag chair, which people love to lounge in. You don’t want to put a television in the quiet room, as it defeats the purpose. Other items to consider are bluetooth speakers for meditation music, relaxation CDs with a CD player, yoga mats, and a bookshelf with books. Furnish the room with items that will help employees to relax and feel comfortable.
Create a quiet room sign-up sheet
Ensure there is a shared sign-up sheet. If the quiet room will be used for both breast feeding mothers and employees who want to recharge, the breast feeding moms should have priority and should be able to sign up for a month or more in advance. (Normally this time is the same every day.) Let other employees reserve the quiet room a week ahead of time.
Keeping a shared spreadsheet so that employees can reserve the room on a shared drive is a very good idea. This enables all employees to have easy access and simple sign up. If your company has time management software, you may want to see if you can set up a program on your time management platform that allows for employees to reserve the quiet room.
Create a quiet room key policy
If you have a key for the quiet room, keep it with one responsible employee all of the time. Make a rule stating that the key is signed in and out during the reserved times. If you have a receptionist or a “front person” for your office, you might want to consider having them keep the key and make it a part of their job to ensure the key is being signed in and out and returned after the reservation. This will avoid someone forgetting to bring the key back or taking it home with them or losing it.
Consider a “no eating policy” for everyday employees
Be sure employees understand that the purpose of the quiet room is to have a quiet, clean place to relax, meditate, pray, pump breast milk, or for people to take some time to recharge. Eating in the quiet room or reflection room can lead to crumbs, leftover food, or a mess which simply adds more stress. It should be quiet, private, and clean.
Please note however, that breast feeding moms will most likely find it more convenient to pump milk during their lunch break so they should be able to eat lunch in the quiet room. Design a policy that works for your individual team members’ needs. Trash bins shouldn’t be needed without food or drink, but if you do have a trash bin in the quiet room, you should make it a policy that it’s emptied regularly.
Consider outdoor space
If possible, employers might want to make a reflection area outside, with patio furniture and hammocks, which are always a hit! If you want to use this option, be sure that you make the area nonsmoking, and have a tarp or umbrella over it to shield people from the sun or rain. Outdoor reflection areas work best in warm climates, but it’s always a nice treat for employees to go out and relax in beautiful weather if they live in areas with snowy cold winters.
Quiet rooms can greatly benefit employees who would like a little time for peace in their hectic work day. Employees appreciate any and all benefits and although it could be that many don’t use the quiet room, they will appreciate that it’s an option.