Kristen Ghergich

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Show Your Staff Appreciation by Offering These Modern Break Room Essentials

The workforce is increasingly heading back into the office. However, it’s anything but a return to business as usual. Rather than go back to the way things were, many organizations are offering flexible hybrid models.

In this new normal—and on the heels of the many stresses of work life in the pandemic—the onus is on businesses to make the in-person employee experience as rewarding as possible. Showing staff appreciation is critical, and so is supporting many of the new habits and expectations that workers have recently developed.

Among the very best staff appreciation ideas is crafting a break room that meets the needs of today’s workforce—a space that engenders the social and collaborative experiences that workers missed and is well-adapted to the way we work now.

Explore these essentials for the modern break room and design the dynamic space that your employees deserve.

1. Allow Workers to Get Comfy

Building the perfect modern break room begins with choosing the right furniture. Any break room should naturally provide ample space for employees to gather over lunch at benches or cafeteria-style tables. However, showing your employees true appreciation will require more than just a few spots to eat lunch away from their desks.

Invite your employees to make themselves comfortable outside of lunch hour by designing a space complete with furniture fit for a variety of occasions—with sofas, accent chairs and seating, and even bean bags. Better yet, complement these comfy furniture pieces with ample greenery to create an even cozier environment. Research has shown that adding plants to an office can help boost spirits and productivity.

coworkers sitting on couches collaborating

The Flash Furniture HERCULES sofa is a great couch for an office!

2. Make Sure Your Break Room is Freshly Stocked

Of course, this new office plant life and seating isn’t the only thing employees will want to enjoy in an updated break room.

Free snacks and coffee are steadily becoming staples of the modern break room, and it’s easy to see why. Offering complimentary refreshments not only encourages employees to take more frequent breaks, which can help increase morale and productivity, but it also creates more opportunities for coworkers to come together and socialize.

While remote work has its many benefits, it’s these sorts of spontaneous encounters with others that are can’t be recreated in the virtual environment. Building a modern break room, fully stocked with free coffee and healthy food options, can support the social environment that many employees have missed in recent years. Meanwhile, in return, it can help boost communication and collaboration for your business.

grandma's cookies

Grandma’s Cookies are always a favorite with everyone, I like the different selection!

3. Set Up a TV and Streaming Options

While it might seem like a significant or even excessive investment for some businesses, adding a TV to your break room can offer an important connection between your employees in the office and the outside world.

Most of the time, a break room TV can simply relay the news, helping workers catch up on the latest while they enjoy their breaks. However, with the addition of streaming media players like the Amazon Fire Stick or Roku, your break room can quickly convert into a theater where employees can view shows, movies, and sporting events.

4. Give Workers Options to Play

Bringing workers’ favorite binge-watches to the break room isn’t the only way to encourage employees to unwind, of course. Many modern break rooms include the latest gaming systems. Meanwhile, offering classic tabletop options like ping pong and pool can inspire workers to remain active and support healthy habits throughout the workday.

5. Create Space for Quiet Time, Too

Although these break room essentials support socializing and offer important outlets to blow off steam, it’s critical that a break room provide areas to enjoy some peace and quiet, too. After all, not every employee finds relaxation in the same way. Partitions and dividers offer easy solutions to separate quiet spaces from noisier ones with a helpful bit of noise insulation.

In addition to creating the space, proactively providing the right resources for employees can help encourage use of it. Consider setting up an office library where coworkers can also swap books and make recommendations. Likewise, supplying coloring books and a range of crafting materials can encourage people to unwind and explore their creative sides.

6. Make Room for Messages and More

If your business has moved to a hybrid model of working, odds are some employees will still not see each other very often—even with the best of all possible break rooms drawing them in.

In this new environment, something as simple as a cork board can help keep employees connected. In addition to announcing events and notices, a community bulletin board can be a great way to show employee appreciation by highlighting recent workforce achievements in a highly visible place.

7. Ample Storage is Key

Making the shift to full-time remote work during the pandemic, many workers enjoyed a level of convenience they hadn’t previously associated with their jobs. Whether it was food or everyday household items, everything they needed was suddenly right at their fingertips.

While you can’t necessarily account for everything when designing a new and improved modern break room, there is one thing you can do to help make sure employees have everything they need to be comfortable at work: provide ample storage space. From storage cabinets and spacious fridge in the break room itself, to personal lockers and communal shelving outside of it, you can give your employees places to bring everything they need from home in order to make their days in the office as comfy as possible.

In the end, that’s what building a modern break room is all about: Ensuring that your employees have space at work to be themselves—just as they are at home. Achieve that ideal space and show them your appreciation by designing a break room with these essentials in mind.

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