If you've ever tried to learn how to play an instrument you'll notice a point when your fingers can't seem to make the correct formations or transitions.
Out of frustration you'll very likely deem the venture a failure stepping away from it deciding you had enough.
After a few days, though, because the desire to play is so great you'll pick it up again and voilà, you'll suddenly have a breakthrough. Was there a magic formula that changed your luck? Probably not; in most cases it was simply a matter of taking a break.
In fact, taking breaks help in the work place, as well. The Cognition Journal released a study in 2010 explaining that when doing repetitive tasks many small breaks throughout the day can help keep quality fluid. Breaks allow the mind to reset after focusing relentlessly on one task.
Mayo Clinic researcher Dr James Levine also found that sitting in the same position for long periods of time brings on obesity and fatigue is a precursor to lack of creativity and compromised concentration. And thus, it's important for workers to have a place to escape to.
What this all boils down to is that if you want to do everything possible within reason to keep your employees energized and productive, providing a place like a break room is essential. Once one is established it can further benefit employees in 3 important ways.
They Create Breathing Space
Break rooms can provide excellent breathing when employees need to temporarily decompress without leaving the premises. This is especially important for offices in tall buildings where getting to the bottom floor and stepping outside can take up most of a break. In a large city, this may be all your employees have to get away for a moment.
For this reason a break room needs to be open, uncluttered and preferably a room with a view. It can have a couch, kitchenette, carpeting, and should be kept clear of computers and other gadgets.
- The bottom line: What a break room needs to be is as non-generic as possible so it doesn't have the same feel as everywhere else in the office. That way escaping there is a lot easier for those in need of a real break.
They Aid Brainstorming
Sometimes when serious brainstorming is in order an alternative setting - being outside or in a coffee shop - is necessary to get the creative juices flowing. But when this option is not available, a good break room is integral.
While brainstorming could be done in a conference room or open office space, this can often still be too formal for creative minds to fully open up. Furthermore, having a break room that functions in this way allows your employees stay local; the closer they are to their work the less time and effort is needed to jump back into it.
- The key: For this to work break rooms need to be appealing enough for employees to actually use them which means extra perks like freshly brewed coffee, snacks, and other benefits. Companies don't have to provide full meals but having these things regularly available can make a difference in how employees make it through the day and the product they put out.
They Show Appreciation
Gen Y wants perks in the workplace, and a great breakroom is a perk -- from games to couches, it's a smart way to show them your appreciation. Yes, the staff is there to work and they are getting paid but studies have found that when people enjoy their work environment it makes them more productive.
Businesses, both big and small, should consider the ramifications of not having a break room and how having one is beneficial to everyone. While you may not be able to build a Google style office or breakroom, you can create a simple getaway that is just as effective.
Photo credit: blogging4jobs.com
Bio: Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He writes about a wide range of green living topics including green office upgrades and eco-friendly floor installation.