The Break Room of Now

A futuristic breakroom

The year is 2002: In a dimly-lit, cluttered room with tattered, unsupportive chairs and a lone, wobbly table; an employee gets a drink from the 5-gallon water cooler and scuttles back to their cubicle with their microwaved lunch. Fast forward to today, companies tour their well-lit, open spaces with plush sofas and copious snacks and drinks with new hires and top talent; hoping to attract them to their business. Break rooms have come a long way. Businesses, in the interest of employee wellness and retention, have turned their outdated break rooms into community spaces that offer employees scenic views, comfortable seating, and of course, the most important part: perks.

What if your break room is stuck in the past, in need of a makeover? Don’t worry – Quench has you covered. We created a list of the three must-haves for a futuristic, brag-worthy break room, sure to tell current and future employees that you value them, you’re trendy, and eco-friendly.

1. State-Of-The-Art Beverage Machines (What did you think we were going to say?)

Bottleless Water Coolers

Break rooms have always revolved around the water cooler. Wherever the water cooler is, you will find employees gathering for a mid-day break and chatting about the latest news (or gossip). That continues to be the case, even in modern break rooms and offices. However, instead of water coolers being traditional, upside-down, 5-gallon water jugs, now they are contemporary, sleek, bottleless water dispensers, some with advanced filtration and enhanced water. That’s right – no more bottles. Which means no more plastic waste, just great taste.

Not to mention you don’t have to worry about germ-filled hands picking up a 5-gallon water jug and contaminating the mouth of the water bottle, or when the water cooler was last cleaned. Many bottleless water coolers have filtration and sanitization technologies that remove sediment, reduce chemical contaminants, and get rid of off-tastes and odors, as well as keep the outside (user interface) of the machine free of germs. So, switching to a bottleless water cooler won’t only make your break room trendy, it’ll also help save the environment and provide cleaner, better-tasting water to your employees. It’s a win-win-win!

Sparkling Water with Added Flavor

One of the hottest trends this year is sparkling water. Whether it’s on the beach, at the dinner table, or in the office, sparkling water is fizzing up, and break rooms that lack the “sparkle” effect are missing out. Employees that have access to sparkling water can stay more hydrated (because it tastes better and they’ll drink more of it) which in turn will improve their mood, productivity, and energy level. It’s also a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks. Many people enjoy soda because of the fizzy, crisp carbonation. Sparkling water contains the same carbonation as soda, but without the sugar. And some sparkling water even has added flavors with either low or no added calories or sugar.

Of course, you can stock your break room refrigerator with cans or bottles of seltzer, but wouldn’t it be great if you could provide an endless supply of sparkling water without having to restock, store, and recycle the cans or bottles!? Well, now you can with bottleless sparkling water dispensers that are contemporary and sleek with sparkling and even flavored sparkling water on tap. Many of these machines allow you to mix and match flavors as your pour. With the ability to customize flavors, as well as select options with caffeine or other ‘boosters’—you’re sure to impress your employees! Check out the Bevi by Quench for a machine that does both.

Multi-Use Ice Machines

Ice bags and ice cube trays are not meant for the workplace. With today’s technology no one’s job description should include hauling bags of ice into the freezer or filling ice cube trays before employees’ lunch breaks. Not only is this a tedious task, but it’s also unsanitary. Who wants to sip on a chilled drink when the hands of multiple peoples have already touched the ice? EW!

An ice machine is the perfect way to keep your employees healthy and modernize your break room. Many people prefer ice water over water served at room temperature. This is largely because our tastes buds react more intensely with warm fluids. So, the colder the beverage the lesser the taste. But that statement only holds true if the ice doesn’t have any off-tastes. Luckily, many ice machines come equipped with advanced filtration technology that purifies the water from all contaminants, sediment, off-tastes, and odors before the water is frozen and turned into ice.

Ice machines also produce specific shapes of ice – so you can decide which ice machine is best for your workplace based on your employees’ preferences. Maybe they enjoy crushed ice or love the ever-so-popular nugget (chewable) ice aka “Sonic® ice.” Upgrade your breakroom to include an ice machine with their favorite type of ice and be the office hero! If you’re looking for half-cubed, bullet, or nugget ice – Quench has an ice machine for you.

Pod Coffee Brewers

Employees run on coffee. Some drink coffee like water, while others prefer one cup a day to wake up and get energized. Whatever your employees’ coffee needs are, your breakroom should keep up!

Another eco-friendly spin on the modern break room is replacing K-cups® with a more sustainable option. Coffee pods are offered in many of the same flavors as K-cups, but the pods are packaged in biodegradable bamboo packs, instead of plastic cups. With a pod coffee brewer, your breakroom can provide employees with gourmet beverages at the touch of a button (without having to leave the office) and they won’t be leaving a 95% nonrecyclable K-cup behind.

Quench uses state-of-the-art purification technologies to ensure that the water that goes into your coffee brewer is as clean and great-tasting as it can be. Great water combined with the highest quality coffee brewing equipment is the foundation for amazing tasting coffee. Choose from two Quench pod coffee brewers – Quench 165 and Quench 166 – that are simple to use with push-button dispensing, digital display, and an auto-eject mechanism for easy pod disposal.

Games and Activities

Let’s be honest, an “all work and no play” environment isn’t very satisfying or sustainable for the long-term. A futuristic break room should be a healthy balance of productivity and happiness, keeping employees engaged and building your company’s culture. Providing employees with games and activities is a great way to promote this balance. It allows employees to unwind and relax from the stresses of the day. Multiplayer games, like ping pong, foosball, and pool are great for bonding amongst coworkers and encouraging a strong team mentality. Independent activities, such as solitaire, sudoku, and crossword puzzles are great for exercising your brain. By having games and activities out in the break room, you are showing your employees that their happiness is important to you. And employees will be sharper when returning to work tasks.

Also, consider scheduling organized activities, like bingo and trivia, in the break room either over lunch or after hours. This will build team comradery and will give employees a reason to get together with their colleagues, relax, have fun, and enjoy the innovative break room that you’ve worked so hard to create. 

Colleagues playing Foosball together in a break room.
Colleagues playing Foosball in a modern break room.

Micro Markets and Snacks

Having a micro market installed in your break room gives your employees access to healthy, freshly prepared foods and refreshments, 24/7. Micro markets consist of a self-checkout kiosk, and offer an immense number of snacks, beverages, and refreshments traditionally not offered in vending machines. Since micro markets aren’t tied to the bounds set by vending machines, the selection of items offered are limitless.

Micro markets are open concept, allowing employees to pick up items and read nutritional facts, all before purchasing them. Once an employee selects their item(s), they simply go to the self-checkout kiosk and check out. They pay using their reloadable market card, credit/debit card, or cash. It’s like having a convenience store in your break room – which is great because it will keep your employees fueled and they won’t have to leave the office every time they want a snack.

Future Breakroom
An expansive micro market in a futuristic break room.

Upgrade Your Break Room with Quench

For over 20 years, Quench has focused on providing businesses with clean, great-tasting drinking water. This commitment to doing one thing well has made us the trusted water authority for over 75% of the Fortune 500. But just as this article has proven – the workplace has evolved. And that means our business had to evolve with it. Now, we offer sparkling water and flavored sparkling water dispensers, ice machines, and coffee brewers, in addition to our bottleless water coolers.

If your workplace still has a closet-sized break room with a vending machine and 5-gallon water cooler, then it’s time for an upgrade. Let Quench help! We have a beverage solution that is right for you, no matter your industry: government, education, medical, manufacturing, hospitality, retail, food services, gyms, spas and salons, or small or large professional service firms.

Visit our Product Finder to see what solution is right for you.