This blog was last updated on February 14, 2023.
Employee break rooms are an important part of any business. Dedicating an area in the workplace for team members to revive their energy isn’t just good for the staff, it’s also great for the company — and, most likely, your long-term productivity and business results. Aside from employees enjoying a coffee break or eating lunch, the break room should be an environment that allows staff members to escape from their daily workload and recharge. Not to mention, it’s a reflection of your company’s investment in its employees. You’d be surprised just how many job candidates will assess your company’s culture by how your break room looks.
If you want your break room to be brag-worthy, then be sure to read “The Break Room of Now” for information on updating your modern space. But chances are, your follow-up question to that article will be… what value (other than aesthetics) do I get from upgrading my break room? Well, we talked to our Quench Water Experts to discover the benefits of having a first-rate office break room and what steps employers can take to create a comfortable, welcoming space for their teams.
The Value of the Break Room
A survey found that nearly 20% of American workers worry that their bosses will not think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks. This is an unfortunate statistic because when employees aren’t encouraged to take breaks and eat lunch, it can quickly become a serious health problem. It’s not physically healthy for people to work 8 (or more) hours straight without taking a break.
When employees are unable to take even a short break throughout the work day, they can experience a host of negative benefits, and your business will likely feel the brunt of these adverse consequences. Some of the most common repercussions include:
- Employee burnout
- Increased stress levels
- Decision fatigue
- Decreased employee morale
- A loss of focus and concentration
- A stressful and disengaged company culture
A modern, enjoyable break room gives people a reason to rest, take a lunch break, and drink water regularly throughout the day — often giving them a boost in energy — and allowing them to work towards a healthy lifestyle.
Are Breaks for Staff Members Legally Required?
To most employers’ surprise, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. And, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a standard that addresses requirements for bathroom facilities, there are no regulations that require an employee lounge or kitchen space to be provided. Organizational leaders should note that while no federal laws for employee break rooms exist, 20 states require meal breaks and 9 states have statutes in place for rest breaks.
While a break room and kitchen area aren’t legally required in most cases, businesses that promote their break rooms as a place to escape from stress promote better mental well-being for their employees. This space allows coworkers to gather and relax, which strengthens company relationships and provides the mental clarity needed for staff to reach their full potential.
Employers can’t forget that stress can take a serious toll on a person’s health. It’s amazing what a warm cup of tea, a light snack, and a short conversation can do for someone’s mental well-being!
The Advantages of Providing a High-Quality Break Room
1. Increase Productivity
Taking breaks may sound counterproductive, but it’s an effective way to promote employee productivity. Stepping away from work for a few minutes is often the rejuvenating mental break that team members need to keep their performance high. Organizational leaders might be surprised how much a short break every 75 to 90 minutes of working can support employee morale, engagement, and productivity. A brief chat by the water cooler with coworkers or enjoying a small snack in the office break room can help employees regain their focus when they return to work.
According to Robert C. Pozen, the author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, taking regular breaks throughout the day can help you replenish your focus and get more done. Apollo Technical reports that productivity can improve as much as 31% when employees feel happy and rested. A nice, comfortable break room will naturally attract employees to take short breaks throughout the day, producing a more productive work atmosphere.
2. Create a Company Culture
Break rooms can say a lot about a company’s culture. If the break room is outdated and unpleasant, employees could feel like their company doesn’t prioritize their well-being. On the flip side, if the break room is modern and enjoyable, team members will know that the company cares about their happiness and recognize the honest effort their employers’ put into providing a sanctuary where they can relax and take a mental break. According to Workhuman, when employers go above and beyond to recognize their staff, employees are:
- 5 times more likely to see a path forward in the organization
- 44% more likely to feel satisfied in their job
- 73% less likely to feel burned out (impacting productivity)
- 5 times more likely to feel connected to their workplace culture
Providing a well-furnished break room is one thing, but encouraging employees to use it is another. When employees are urged to use the company’s break room as a place to escape, it creates a positive work environment. This generates energy and enthusiasm, which can lead to a successful business. A breakroom also fosters relationships between coworkers from different departments across the company who might not regularly see each other. Collaboration amongst colleagues is key to running an efficient and effective business.
3. Prevent Employee Burnout
Employees of all ages and across all industries experience the true impact of stress, fatigue, and mental health challenges, and it’s only getting worse as time goes on. A report from Indeed found that employee burnout is on the rise, with 52% of the workforce citing feelings of burnout last year. However, by creating a superior break room, employers can give their staff the space to destress throughout the day, which can go a long way toward minimizing burnout in the long run.
4. Improve Wellness
Employee wellness should always be a top priority of every company. Caring for its most essential asset — its people — is at the core of every successful business. And, healthy employees are ultimately happier, more productive, and less absent, which is a boon to your bottom line.
What’s more, employees increasingly expect this authentic concern for their well-being, in pursuit of both a good job and a happy life. When asked what employees look for most in an employer, Gallup reports that workers across generations today rank “an organization that cares about employees’ well-being” in their top 3 criteria: This is typically the most important benchmark for Millennials and Generation Z.
Creating a Great Break Room Your Employees Will Love
If you want to take your employee break room to the next level, it can be hard to know where to start. But, there are a few essential elements of every first-rate employee lounge that can help guide you along the way. To create a space your team will love, consider adding:
- An office library: With a bookshelf in your common space, team members can take their minds away from the job with something to read. This is a great opportunity to introduce learning and development resources where staff can both decompress and upskill simultaneously.
- Comfortable seating: It’s difficult for employees to fully relax if they’re uncomfortable. Implementing different types of seating and ensuring there are enough open spots to go around promotes more relaxing and effective leisure times for your workforce. You might consider seats for resting like couches and hammocks and options that are better suited for eating such as benches and picnic tables. If you want to encourage well-being, you can also include active seating like exercise balls and yoga mats.
- A coffee station: For many working individuals, coffee is essential. When staff members need a boost of energy throughout the day, a premier coffee stand can make all the difference in happiness, productivity, and morale. You might consider providing flavors, pastries, or even custom mugs to give your employees the coffee break they deserve.
- A snack bar: When employees get hungry during the work day, it’s difficult to stay focused and maintain a positive attitude. Providing free snacks is a great way to ensure team members have access to a pick-me-up when they need one. Keep in mind that it’s best to choose healthy snacks to support the long-term well-being of your teams.
- Clean, great-tasting water: A key component of employee well-being, morale, productivity, engagement, and more is hydration. This means it’s vital that your break room promotes greater water intake to guarantee your workforce has the fuel they need to reach their maximum potential. Break rooms can install bottleless water coolers from a dependable water service provider like Quench to drive hydration at work. This ensures teams have access to an endless supply of filtered water that tastes great.
Get the Quench Solution
Employers can’t underestimate the value of a great break room. An elevated employee lounge not only promotes employee wellness but also an organization’s operational efficiency and productivity. And, when your workplace is ready to upgrade your space for team members to take a well-deserved break — Quench can help.
We offer water-as-a-service solutions by providing filtered water through a broad array of bottleless machines. Let Quench help you transform your workplace break room into a comfortable retreat for your employees with hot, extra hot, cold, and ambient still water, sparkling water, flavored water, ice, and delicious coffee and tea.
Not only are our beverages filtered and great-tasting, certain to suit all your employees’ needs, but they also dispense from sleek, bottleless machines that will transform your break room into a contemporary, eco-friendly space. You’ll never have to worry about an empty break room again!
We know every workplace has unique beverage and break room needs, and our Quench team is here to ensure you get the solution that’s the right fit. Try our product finder to discover the bottleless machine that’s best suited for your team, or get a free quote to get started.