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Office Break Room Ideas and Activities for a More Productive Workforce
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Office Break Room Ideas and Activities for a More Productive Workforce

|May 29, 2024
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People have been putting more time and effort into the layout and design of their office spaces, but the break room is often overlooked. Taking a break from work should be restful, comfortable, and rejuvenating to ensure employees are at their best throughout the day.

What people may not realize is that even a small office break room can be transformed into a productive and inviting space that drives creativity, energy, and engagement. Here are 15 creative ideas for designs and activities to make break time hours valuable and beneficial to the business.

15 Practical and Creative Office Break Room Ideas

In this guide, we have combined breakroom design ideas with creative suggestions for activities that can enhance the space and its atmosphere.

1. Choose Your Color Scheme Wisely

The impact color has on a space is vastly underestimated far too often. Certain colors instantly make a space feel more energized or relaxing- and knowing which is which goes a long way to helping you create the best possible office break room.

You don’t want the space to feel cold, clinical, or corporate- so avoid using all whites and pale grays. A minimalist color scheme is fine- as long as you break it up with cozy soft furnishings, some plants, and other organic, natural materials.

On the other hand, it shouldn’t be over-stimulating. Too much red or contrasting bright colors can overwhelm the mind- not what you want in a space where people should feel relaxed.

Choose Your Color Scheme Wisely

Some good colors to choose for an office break room include:

Cool blue

Blue is a calming color that is not overwhelming- stick with a middle-of-the-road shade to avoid making people feel tired or straining their eyes.

Earthy greens

Green is a refreshing color that calms people and makes them feel inspired. That said, tone matters. Earthy greens are best for office break rooms.

Hints of orange

Orange is an energizing color that offers a mental pick-me-up. It works very well in offices where people spend long hours looking at screens or doing repetitive tasks- but keep it refined and don’t slap it all over the walls. 

Darker grays

If you want a neutral color to add a bit of balance, choose a darker grey. Use it sparingly, as too much can be draining. In small doses, it can be reflective and add character- while keeping a professional tone. Just make sure to add other colors elsewhere.

Beige

Beige has a reputation for being boring, but it also brings great balance to busy rooms. Choosing a beige shade to fill the empty spaces keeps the break room subtle and relaxing without becoming cold and unwelcoming.

2. Use Layout to Create Zones where Possible

It can be tricky to effectively zone a small office break room, but it is not impossible. Having a clear area for eating lunch and a separate space for activities, relaxation, or chatting can make it feel more purposeful and inviting. It also helps keep other areas clean and hygienic if people are not eating food where people want to sit and unwind.

If you have a more generous break room, you can take this further. Add zones for board games or other creative activities (see more below), have a coffee corner, or introduce separate spaces for exercise, stretching out, or peace and quiet.

You can achieve this through furniture choices, color blocking, movable dividers, and other furnishings, such as rugs.

Use Layout to Create Zones where Possible

3. Invest in Comfortable Furniture

Office break room furniture is just as important as desks and chairs. You want the space to be comfortable and inviting- which is hard to achieve if you have sparse, uncomfortable seating and nowhere to relax.

Invest in pieces that make people want to spend time in the room- and think about what styles are most appropriate and beneficial.

You can save money by buying bulk office furniture and benefiting from great savings. That way, you can make your budget stretch further and still get the best for your employees.

Invest in Comfortable Furniture

4. Encourage Interaction with Board Games

One of the best ways to turn an office break room into a productive space is to encourage people to do something useful and stimulating with their time- rather than letting their brains go idle. Board games do this while allowing people to unwind and take a break from work.

Another great benefit of board games is the interaction they create. People can play with others that they may not usually speak to. In turn, this builds relationships and improves the bond between staff members.

Set up a board game corner in the office with a comfortable table and chairs and a stack of different games. Save money by asking people to donate games they don’t play at home- or look in Goodwill stores for great deals.

Encourage Interaction with Board Games

5. Build a Photo Wall

Many people include photographs in their office cubicle décor to make it feel more personal, but there is a bigger opportunity for this in the modern office break room. Having a photo wall with pictures from team events, around the office, and anything else you feel deserves a place shows people that their work team is like an extended family.

People can add photos to the wall (as long as they are appropriate), and management can ensure new team photos are taken regularly to keep the wall current and up to date with everything going on within the business. Trips down memory lane remind people why they love working for a company- and help them feel more engaged with its future.

6. Weekly Puzzle Challenges

Jigsaw puzzles stimulate the brain, improve focus, and pose a challenge. Each week, put a new puzzle in the breakroom with a challenge for your team to have it completed by the end of the business week. Anyone who takes part can add their name to the list, and if it is finished on time, everyone involved gets a small reward (free coffee, an extra break, etc.).

This encourages collaboration and gets people to use their breaks doing something that stimulates their brains- which will ultimately reward your business with more focused and productive employees.

You can also try other puzzles- including mega crosswords, word searches, or model building. Get suggestions from your team of the types of challenges they would enjoy.

Weekly Puzzle Challenges

7. Coffee of the Week Club

Turn coffee breaks into a fun adventure by introducing a coffee of the week. Supply the products for people to try- and try to make them varied with different flavors, roasts, and beans. It is even better if you can work with local small businesses that blend their own coffee. That way, you can support the community and point employees toward the places they can buy the coffees they love.

Have a feedback chart where people rate different coffees and suggest possible future coffees of the week. It takes something simple and turns it into a talking point amongst fellow caffeine connoisseurs.

Coffee of the Week Club - office break room

8. Use a Bulletin Board

Bulletin boards are excellent communication tools. They can be used to share important details of upcoming events, recent achievements, company goals, and much more. Having one in the break room gives people something to look at and provides an area for people to share things with the team.

Use a Bulletin Board

9. Cleaning Incentives

It can be difficult to inspire people to keep the break room clean. Some people are naturally tidier than others, but it can cause disputes if someone feels like they are doing all the work. Having a cleaning competition where people earn points for completing certain tasks can encourage more people to take responsibility.

You can make a chart with daily tasks, and the person who completes them signs their name in the box. Tally the points and have small incentives (new office accessories, an extended break, a free lunch, etc.) for the winner. Run the competition weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly- and consider having a larger prize for the top cleaner of each quarter or year.

10. Introduce a Quiet Corner or Quiet Hours

Sometimes, people just need a bit of peace during their break. Designate an area (it could even be a separate room) as the quiet corner- where people can go knowing there won’t be anything distracting going on. Alternatively, introduce a quiet hour where the modern office break room is silent and peaceful.

Introduce a Quiet Corner or Quiet Hours

11. Host Break Room Mixers

Break rooms should be sociable spaces- but that is not always the case. Hosting regular break room mixers with snacks, crafts, talking points, or anything else that makes sense for your team. It encourages interaction and can help build positive relationships between staff members.

12. Break Room Book Club

Too much screen time is bad for people’s eyes and mental well-being- and endless scrolling on a break can leave people feeling drained, distracted, or over-stimulated when they go back to their desks. A book club is a great way to encourage people to read during their breaks instead. People can take turns choosing the book, and you could run incentives for people who take part.

If a book club doesn’t fit well for your team, you could set up a simple book swap where people can leave their old books for others to enjoy and find new ones left by colleagues.

Break Room Book Club

13. Personalized Mug Cubbies

Having your own mug at the office helps it feel more familiar and comfortable. A lot of people would even say their tea or coffee tastes better out of their own mug! Build an area with individual mug cubbies with your employees’ names on them, and either let them bring their choice of mug or buy different mugs for each person. It is a nice personal touch.

14. Provide Team Lunches from Time to Time

Food is an easy way to bring people together. Most offices have a combination of people who go out for lunch, sit in the break room with the food they brought, or grab a quick snack at their desks. A team lunch brings everyone into the break room to enjoy a good meal together- and have some downtime with their colleagues.

Speak to a local restaurant or catering company about arranging an order. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or just for special occasions.

15. Inspire Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Choices

Introducing a standing desk culture and bringing healthy work habits into the workplace is a great way to encourage employees to look after their physical health. However, you can take it even further through the workplace break room idea.

Provide nutritious snacks for people to enjoy on their break- free of charge, if possible. You could also bring in a water fountain to get people drinking more water- or provide water bottles in the break room.

Depending on the size of the room and the budget you have to work with, you could also make part of it into a stretch zone or workout area- and arrange fitness activities for people to take part in. 

Inspire Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Choices

Top Tips for a Successful Break Room

  • Don’t forget to give the break room the same love and attention as the working zones: Neglecting the break area suggests you care less about people’s well-earned downtime and personal well-being.
  • Work break room furniture into your overall office budget: When budgeting for your office chair and desk choices, don’t forget to consider the cost of the furniture you need for the break area.
  • Make the space a place that encourages interaction- so your employees can get to know each other better.
  • Bring elements of the business into the office break room without making it feel too corporate and work-centric. 
  • Know your budget: There are plenty of small office ideas for work and break zones that don’t have to cost a lot of money. Think about what funds you have available and work out your priorities before splashing the cash.
  • The most important thing is for your employees to feel comfortable and relaxed in the office break room.

Summary

A modern office breakroom should be inviting, comfortable, engaging, and multi-functional. Providing your team with an excellent break space where they feel relaxed, comfortable, and valued helps keep them motivated and focused during working hours.

Design and functionality go hand in hand. You can use design to create a great space, but you need to go one step further and introduce different activities and points of interest to appeal to your workforce. Use the office break room ideas on this list as inspiration for your own workplace!

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