Employee comfort and workplace amenities are vital to keeping your employees happy on the job. Taking breaks creates a company culture, boosts employee wellness and morale, and actually increases productivity.
You want your break room to reflect your company’s values and modern way of working, which means that you want to keep it up-to-date and comfortable. But when it comes time to budget, sprucing up the break room is often on the back burner.
The truth is, you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great break room. By focusing on the essentials and making smart choices, you can remodel your break room without breaking the bank.
Here are some ideas to help you get started!
1. Quality Furniture Is Key
When you remodel the break room, the first place you should spend money is on quality furniture. You want to buy comfortable, durable furniture that’s actually supportive.
Smaller businesses might only need one sofa, two comfortable chairs, a nice set of dining chairs, and a table for eating. Scaling this up might mean adding a loveseat or a second couch, but you don’t actually need to stuff the room with furniture.
Before you start your remodel, check out how many people are in the break room at any given time. You might find that it makes sense for your business to add a second dining area rather than multiple couches.
2. Ditch The Carpet
This is a break room remodel that only needs to be done once, but will have long-lasting effects for the life of your office. Once seen as a luxury, wall-to-wall carpeting is now seen as outdated, dingy, and even unsanitary, trapping pests, dust, and moisture deep below the surface.
If you have carpet in your breakroom, you might want to pull it up and replace it with modern, budget-friendly bamboo flooring or laminate flooring– both of which are less expensive than hardwood, while still looking great. Once that’s installed, you can liven up the space with rugs, which are easy to switch out to help keep your break room looking fresh.
3. Free Coffee
No matter what industry you’re in, providing free coffee to your workers is a gesture of goodwill that has far-flung benefits. Create an inviting coffee space by adding a coffee dispenser or espresso machine to the break room, and keep your fridge stocked with flavored creamers, milk, and a dairy alternative or two for those who have dietary restrictions.
You can save money by encouraging employees to use reusable coffee mugs instead of having to constantly restock paper cups, which add up over time. You should make sure to choose a coffee machine based on its durability– a machine that can stay in service for longer periods of time is a machine that will save you money in the long run.
4. Rethink The Walls
Great break room decoration doesn’t have to be expensive. Liven the space up by painting it in a bright color, rather than just plain white or taupe, and include an accent wall.
Greens and blues are seen as refreshing colors, so you might want to consider color in those families.
You can also get creative with your wall coverings. A cork, chalkboard, or whiteboard wall can be fun and encourage discussion and collaboration amongst your employees.
5. Build Team Spirit
Photos are a great way to decorate your break room. Photos of your team will help build cohesion and make your employees feel included.
Take some time to pick out some nice company photos– and if you don’t have any, make sure to start taking them at business lunches, team building events, and other activities. Putting your team’s photos up on the wall will showcase how fun you are to work with and remind your employees that the company cares about them.
6. Stock The Kitchen
Creating a stocked kitchen in your break room might seem expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! Like redoing the floors, once you have the groundwork in, you can refresh this area whenever you remodel without having to redo the whole thing.
Getting custom countertops and cabinets put in for your break room’s food preparation area is a great way to create a durable, cost-effective kitchen. Laminate cabinets are a particularly good option for the corporate break room since they can match any decor scheme and aren’t as expensive as wood.
They provide a warm, natural look to make your break room feel more like home. Or for a more sleek look, stainless steel cabinets are a great option as well, though they are more expensive than laminate and wood cabinets.
In addition to the food preparation area, you should consider stocking your break room with snacks. There are services that can do this for your company, or you can order what you want directly.
Healthy snacks like nuts, jerky, trail mix, snack bars, and dried fruit will last a long time and promote employee wellness. Pastries and cookies go great with morning coffee, and fresh fruit and veggies are a good way to perk up your employees throughout the day.
7. Get Moving
While some employees will prefer to use the break room to chill, others may prefer bursts of movement to restore their brains and improve focus. Consider adding some personal exercise equipment to the break room.
You don’t have to go all out with ellipticals and treadmills– a basket with exercise bands and some small hand weights, and inflatable exercise balls are enough to encourage movement. An exercise ball or two is often appreciated by employees as furniture, too; sitting on a ball is great for the core and can improve posture.
This in turn makes sitting at a computer bench or workstation more comfortable. Just make sure the balls stay in the break room– if they go missing, offer your employees balls of their own to keep at their desks.
They’ll appreciate it, and exercise balls are very inexpensive.
8. Encourage Relaxation
One of the biggest benefits of breaks while working is that your team is able to shift gears, renew their focus, and get the creative juices flowing again. Encourage not thinking about work during breaks by providing some fun diversions.
You can encourage creativity with a dry erase board or pads of paper and writing supplies. Adult coloring books are a popular way to relax, and employees might appreciate the chance to get in touch with their inner child.
A small library of popular books, games, puzzles, and other fun activities for one or a few people is great to keep in the break room. They’re an easy way to prop up a break’s effectiveness without spending much!
9. TV or No TV?
Whether or not you should have a TV in the break room is debatable. On one hand, a TV can be entertaining.
On the other hand, a TV can also be a source of conflict amongst employees.
Not everyone wants to watch the same thing or have the volume at the same level. You know your company’s culture best, so make this determination based on whether or not you think a TV would actually benefit your employees.
If you do decide to go for a TV, you don’t have to include it as part of a big remodel. Instead, you should wait until Super Bowl season, spring, or Black Friday.
That’s when you’re able to get the best deals on a TV.
10. Keep It Fresh
The best break rooms are refreshing, rejuvenating places where employees feel comfortable. One easy way to improve these areas is to improve their air quality.
A humidifier is a great way to make the air a little more comfortable. Offices, in particular, are often quite dry due to air conditioning, so damper air in the break room can be highly appreciated.
Just make sure to use water only and don’t include essential oils, as those can be very irritating to some peoples’ lungs.
Plants are also a great source of freshness and vitality. Studies have shown that being around plants helps people concentrate better at work.
Tasks performed under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy. Flowers improve peoples’ moods and increase levels of positive energy and emotions.
They help people feel secure and relaxed, and they’re a very easy way to add some color to your breakroom. For cut flowers, choose bright blooms that you can display in a vase, maybe by the coffee area or on the dining table.
For live plants, you want to choose something low maintenance that can survive the occasional extra watering by a well-meaning employee. Some of the best plants for the office break room include pothos, dracaena, bamboo, spider plants, and snake plants.
11. Ask Your Team
Before you go all-in on a break room idea, you should ask your employees what they want in the space. You might find that your expensive ideas aren’t what they actually want to see!
By communicating with your employees about break room remodeling, let them share their opinions and ideas. A suggestion box in the break room is a great way to do this; the employees can share their thoughts for a new break room as they’re using the current one.
Need Help Designing Your Company Break Room?
No matter how you remodel your break room, OnePointe Solutions can help. We are experts at creating break rooms that are both comfortable and functional through our custom furniture and commercial cabinetry, and commercial kitchen designs.
We can create tables, cabinets, and countertops that perfectly fit your needs and your budget. If you’re thinking about a remodel, why not get in touch and see what we can do for you? Give us a call at 866-612-7312 to speak to a design specialist today!