Like it or not, your office is your home away from home. Chances are, you spend more time at work than you do anywhere else. While you do spend a ton of time at your desk, it’s important to mingle with coworkers that you (hopefully) like to give yourself a breather from work and get some social time in.
The office break room is pretty much THE place to be when it comes to socializing. From grabbing a quick cup of coffee (or tea), sneaking a snack or two, or setting out your brown-bagged lunch at a table and chatting with your co-workers, the breakroom is a sanctuary amid the hustle and bustle of your office.
Transform Your Breakroom from Typical to Totally Awesome
While the breakroom is an oasis in a land of chaos, it can sometimes feel a little sterile: Tables populated with nothing but a salt and pepper shaker. A microwave and toaster situated on the countertop, unified in a utilitarian front to heat up snacks. Unadorned windows framed by plain, white Venetian blinds giving you a glimpse at the outside world as you sit inside.
It can get a little depressing.
While no breakroom is ever going to be Studio 54 circa th late 1970s, a few simple tweaks and cheerful additions can take it from humdrum to happening. While your company may not have the budget to install nap pods a la Google, you can work within your budget to personalize your office breakroom and make it a welcome haven for happy coworkers to take a load off. Take a few cues from some companies like PopCap games (the creators of video games such as Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies) and Airbnb to add colorful accents to your company kitchen or turn it into a space where you and your coworkers can find refreshment of both the beverage and creative variety.
Dress up office breakroom tables with some colorful accents. While fresh-cut flowers might not be in the budget, opting for plastic flowers may seem a little cheesy or depressing – and make your breakroom feel a little too much like seating at a wedding reception. However, a colorful vase or kicky (and maybe even a little kitschy) colorful sculptural item in the middle of the tables may serve to brighten the room up.
Use the color of the vase or table accents to help pick out some cheery café curtains or just a large, colorful valance if curtains won’t work with your breakroom’s blinds. Having some color frame the window can make it seem a lot more inviting.
Adding a breakroom cart topped with easy-to-care-for plants and can also add a jolt of life to the space. (As long as someone waters the plants regularly. There’s nothing more maudlin than a dead plant staring you and your coworkers in the face as you enjoy a cup of joe.
Snacks and Supplies
You can continue the color theme with your breakroom supplies. Get colorful plastic cutlery or straws. Opt for a toaster in a fun color instead of a blah, industrial metal toaster.
Most importantly… Stock up on snacks! While coffee and tea are always crowd-pleasers, offering an array of portable snacks – such as chips, gum, or even healthier fare like protein bars, sunflower seeds, or nuts can provide employees with some much-needed replenishment without a sugar buzz and subsequent crash.
Personalize Your Space
Most industrial refrigerators come in a standard array of colors. However, you can spice yours up with some colorful magnets. Encourage your coworkers to add (office appropriate) magnets featuring their favorite pop culture and movie characters on the ‘fridge – or magnets supporting your co-workers’ favorite sports teams.
These magnets can be great conversation starters for employees gathered around the water cooler or making a pilgrimage to retrieve lunch from the refrigerator. You might not have realized your across-the-hall coworker was a huge Game of Thrones fan. And you and your cubemate may have a friendly sports rivalry or shared love of a team. Adding a bit of fun, personalized décor can make your breakroom feel a bit more like home than a stodgy corporate office space.
The simple act of outfitting your breakroom with a few niceties can make employees feel appreciated. A breakroom that feels warm and welcoming can have a positive impact on your coworkers. Giving them a place to relax, share stories, and enjoy food and conversation can give them the boost they need to make it through the second half of their day.