The saying tells us that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This is an important thought to bear in mind when redesigning an office. Including comfortable, inspiring rest and relaxation areas can go a long way towards keeping the workforce motivated, rejuvenated and productive.
Wake up and smell the coffee
Every rest area needs a method of providing hot drinks to people on their breaks. A quick caffeine boost, coupled with a good chat and a chance to stop for a ‘cuppa’ will make the working day much nicer for everyone. Consider providing a wide selection of hot drinks, from the standard teas and coffees to hot chocolate, herbal teas, de-caffeinated options and even a choice of soups. There are various ways to do this, including vending machines, kettles, coffee machines or even a small, on-site cafeteria.
Make your rest areas comfortable so that people feel able to sit and talk to other employees. While you obviously don’t want people to spend all day doing that, offering somewhere quiet to chat will help teams to bond and might even promote creativity or new ideas as people discuss any problems they may be experiencing on a certain work project. Some easy chairs and a table are a good start, with private areas for more discrete conversations.
Adding some decorative touches to your office rest and relaxation areas will be very popular amongst staff and visitors alike. It shows that you care as much about their downtime as you do about their productivity at their desks. Add some living plants for a natural feel and to enhance the air quality in the room and choose some artwork that suits your surroundings and workplace values. If you can find more original pieces or art, these are often far better appreciated than generic ‘motivational’ posters or prints of well-known paintings.
It is very important that rest areas are totally separated from parts of the office where regular work takes place. So even if you have an open-plan setup, find a separate enclosed space for this purpose. People will find it much easier to switch off from their work for a while if they are not forced to stay in the same place all the time, plus many will appreciate the privacy. Plus, if people choose to cook their lunch in there, for example, the smells could waft across the entire office if not contained adequately.
Seek the opinions of those who are actually going to use the rest area during the design and planning stages. Listen to what they are asking for and try to provide as much as you can to meet their needs. After all, if no-one uses the
allocated rest area then it becomes a waste of space, which many stretched or crowded offices simply cannot afford to lose.