In today’s post-pandemic world, having a flexible work model is hardly a differentiator for businesses anymore — it’s become pretty commonplace. In fact, 71% of employees want a hybrid or remote working style after the pandemic (Owl Labs). So for companies recruiting for in-office positions, what will you do to make employees actually want to come to the office?
Now more than ever, your office environment matters. The best talent isn’t going to settle for being stuck in a dull, uninspiring office for 8 hours a day. And the truth is, there are major benefits to being in the office. Being together and socializing is a psychological needs that a lot of people are missing while working remotely. So providing people-centric spaces is an excellent way to foster growth and unity, encourage collaboration and connection, and satisfy the needs of workers — both physically and mentally.
Welcome your workers back to the traditional office space with common areas built for them! While many workers have gotten used to the comforts of home and gotten a bit agoraphobic in the process, you can create a space that gets them excited about coming to work and being part of a present team.
Benefits of Providing a Modern Break Room
In addition to getting that social spark back in the lives of your employees, there are other benefits of providing a modern break room that helps each individual and the company as a whole.
When you put forth the time, effort, and investment to create a social space, your employees take note. This inspires them to embrace the company’s mission, creating a common culture that ties people together. By improving morale in this way, everyone gets on the same page, working towards the goals that benefit your company most.
A creative space also improves creativity! Employees can take some time to reset, helping them brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas. This refreshing form of success serves to encourage them further in a forward-perpetuating snowball of greatness.
Last but not least, productivity has been shown to increase when employees are given an effective space to share. All of the benefits come together, resulting in what’s best for business. Take care of your employees, and they’ll be primed to take care of your company.
How to Design a Modern Common Spaces
To capitalize on the benefits in-person work can provide, you have to provide your workers with common spaces that encourage creativity, support physical health, and make socializing easy and fun. So where do you start? Here are a couple of key elements that can help you bring out the best aspects of these spaces.
It’s Gotta Look Good
The visual design elements that create your break room will help set the vibe you want your employees to feel and get people in creative mode. Modern light features with bold paint colors will keep the space stimulating and fun. Incorporate as much natural light in the room as possible – it’s important for positive well-being! And with it, fill the space with indoor plants. A little greenery is actually reported to improve health and boost creativity.
Then, it’s time to consider additional features that can provide inspiration and aesthetic value. Thoughtfully selected wall art, typography signs, graphics, and branded elements can help you better control the type of culture you want your company to have, allowing employees to not only feel cared, for but also proud of who they work for. Not to mention, all of these things are known for providing much-needed mid-day boosts.
Seating Can be a Game Changer
Your lounge and common areas should be places where your employees can relax and disconnect in all the ways they may need to. Comfort and color are key – you want people to be able to relax without putting them to sleep! Consider lounge chairs that are both cozy, and stylish. Think about cafe chairs or stools that facilitate both snack breaks and lunchtime together. And incorporate modular seating that makes redesigning the space to meet the changing needs of the space simple and easy — whether it’s throwing a party or having a quick meeting.
Having a combination of privacy and collaboration seating options can give employees the flexibility to choose from alone time to social time at any time. Here at Ethosource, we offer an array of options to help you achieve both and help your team enjoy all the benefits of their workday breaks.
Make Break Time More Fun
Not all breaks are about R&R, so give your employees options for games and activities they can enjoy together. Whether you bring in a foosball, air hockey, or ping-pong table, consider how these pieces aren’t just nice for show — but can also really foster connections through friendly competitions and teamwork. Entertainment elements make it easier for employees to bond across departments and teams and give them something different and fun that they likely don’t have at home. All work and no play aren’t good for anyone!
On the flip side, phone booths are actually a cool new addition to the modern office that is great for helping people stay connected and check in with loved ones without worrying about privacy or distractions. Some remote workers got used to spending more time with their children or spouses, which can make the transition back to the office tough. Giving them a way to easily stay connected to people outside the office too, will help them stay focused and happy at work.
Let them Eat Cake (or Whatever)
Nothing brings people together more than great food — and drinks, of course! Whether it’s a separate cafe area or outdoor patio, or lounge area with a kitchenette and the right furniture, make sure your employees have a place to escape from their desks to enjoy their lunch or a snack, to help them stay healthy, nourished, and focused.
Having a fridge (and a wine fridge??), freezer, and a water cooler can be essential to making a break room feel more like home. With remote workers having access to a full kitchen at all times, it’s important to give in-office employees the same perks. Consider table styles and seating. Maybe it’s cool retro booths or picnic tables. Or maybe it’s high tops and a serving bar. Wine and dine your employees a bit by getting creative!
Keep it Clean
Having a great common space for co-workers to relax and socialize will mean a lot to them, and it’ll remind them of all the reasons why it’s great to be in the office! With that being said, if it gets dirty and unkempt it can have the opposite effect on them – reducing morale as well as mental and physical health. Your maintenance crew can keep up with the mess, but having some no-touch waste options can encourage your employees to take responsibility as well. It also just makes maintenance a whole lot easier on everyone. It’ll help things stay cleaner throughout the day, ready to give every employee the revitalizing break they’re looking for.
YOUR FINAL SPACE
When all is said and done, your common areas should be a rejuvenating force in your office and a huge recruiting tool for your company. If you include all of these elements, it will be inspirational, relaxing, and fun for employees, making their office a place they can be proud — and excited — to show up to every day.
Contact our office furniture and design experts at Ethosource to help you design a common area that fits your unique needs! We provide customized options that work with your specific space so and design consultations to help you make it possible. Bring your employees back in style – not only will they appreciate it, but it’ll make your company culture and productivity better than ever!