With extensive evidence linking strategic office design to employee retention, it’s important to maximise one of the key areas in the workplace: the breakout space.
Breakout spaces are an area that is separate from where staff normally work. It can be used by any employee, client or visitor, and can have multi-functional purposes. Whether it’s a quiet space to relax, have informal meetings or simply an area to eat lunch and catch up with colleagues, a breakout space is an integral part of office design.
Consider it an ‘office retreat’
One way to maximise a breakout space is to focus on the area as a social space. Office workers should be encouraged to engage in casual non-work-related conversations or simply take a break away from their desktop computer. The style of furniture in a room speaks volumes about the company. Does the business value employees’ comfort? Providing them with soft sofas and plush fabrics will make it pleasurable to sit down for a longer amount of time. Natural hues are calming, so people can be further soothed by selecting shades such as mint green, muted lemon or blush pink.
Whilst the aim is for people to relax, it’s important to minimise distraction as the majority of offices are open plan, which can lead to the epidemic of overwhelm. To ensure informal conversations don’t stray in to other departments within the office, Creatif have developed Whisper; polyester acoustic panels that have been specifically designed to reduce and control reverberated noise.
A space to step away from technology
In most businesses, the breakout space accounts for almost 30% of the total workspace. Considering the remaining 70% will be catered for working with technology, some companies are making their breakout spaces an almost technology-free zone. Whilst it is necessary to have access to your computer, tablet and phone, having a 10-minute digital detox gives worker’s brains a chance to recharge and rejuvenate with new ideas. No BBC news or local radio stations, simply home-like welcoming furniture and access to natural daylight.
As many breakout spaces are open, Baffles are a great way of insulating noise. Suspended from the ceiling, these sound absorbent panels are lightweight, simple to install, acoustic solutions in over 100 different colours.
If a company has a fun and friendly culture, the breakout space can be where the business shows its personality and flair. We know that workplace design boosts employee advocacy so when you’re looking to create a destination space worthy of Instagram photos, get creative with the breakout space. Artistic flair, futuristic furniture and statement patterns will be a talking point for clients, current staff and potential employees.
When space is limited, you can modify the breakout space to cater more for collaborative working or for individual use. If the aim is to encourage users to work, ensure there are multiple and flexible power connections which indicate that this is a space to connect online rather than face to face. If the square footage won’t allow for further meeting rooms, use flexible dividers such as Float to create an immediate acoustic barrier that enables private conversations or quick brainstorming sessions. Do you want the breakout space to be used for no more than an hour? Select rigid furniture with a firm texture, in conservative colours such as grey, black or blue which subliminally suggest that these rooms are predominantly for effective work use.
For further inspiration on how to maximise a breakout space, check out Creatif’s latest projects here. With extensive experience working with a range of clients, get in touch with Nick Waite, Creatif’s Interior Design Consultant who will be able to find a suitable solution for you.