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Take a break

Posted by
02 Nov 2015
Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Virgin - all very well-known companies and most recently, not just because of their dominance in the technological world, but we are more often hearing about their benefits, perks and quirky office spaces. I realise these are obvious and overused examples when talking about office environments, however; they are leading this change in the working world. Not only are these companies providing a dedicated area that gives employees a bit of respite from their day-to-day job role, but by providing big changes to their working life with strong and notable variations such as non-standard working hours, unlimited annual leave, extended parental leave and even bringing your pets to work! It is slowly becoming more commonplace and accepted for employees in busy office environments to take some downtime during the working day, and employers are starting to realise the benefits.

The office 'water cooler' phenomenon is slowly being pushed aside with staff no longer gathering around the traditional focal point to discuss what series they watched last night or what their plans are for the weekend. Employees are asking and opting for a more relaxed environment, away from their desk and separate from the buzz of the office floor.

When thinking about implementing an office breakroom there are a few key features to consider; comfortable seating, natural light, reading material, a television perhaps, kitchen appliances i.e. a fridge, water cooler, coffee machine are all pretty standard objects employees would like to see. These are not ground-breaking in any way and there is no need to go crazy with upgrades and fixtures, just getting the essentials in will improve the environment and encourage employees to take a mental and physical break from the daily races of the office.

This appears particularly in the traditional office setting is the challenge many employers are finding, surprisingly it's not just the appliance element - although that is an obvious encouragement to spend some time there. The difficulty being found is that employees aren't using the space and persuading staff that it's ok to take a break is proving quite difficult. In the traditional sense it may have been frowned upon to take unscheduled breaks to read a magazine or stare into space for 10 minutes, it takes time for employees to adjust and realise it' acceptable to step away and recharge and that it isn't detrimental to their work or career in any way.

More and more studies are being undertaken on the effects of employees taking a break and having a space to relax during their day, and all are showing results of reduced stress and increased productivity. According to Gaebler Ventures it only takes a brief respite in a work-free zone for people to relax and recharge; a combination that brings with it a greater level of productivity, job satisfaction and general health. In addition, according to the University of Michigan, short social interactions lead to improvements in multiple cognitive functions, including problem solving, planning and execution as we as working memory, reasoning and mental flexibility.

Taking on board the recent studies; the successes of the technology giants and the benefits a breakroom brings to employees as well as employers, it is becoming an obvious improvement in all work spaces, and with productivity jumping up by 15% it won't take long for everyone to get involved, starting from the top!
Tagged In: Employment, Marketing
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