Breakout spaces. The term that seems to have taken the world of office design by storm. No longer will the simple kitchen serve the purpose needed by your new generation of workers…more is required. This ‘breakout space’ age has evolved as a result of the upcoming generation z and the facilities that they need to perform to their best ability. It involves providing a space (or a variety of spaces) where your employees can ‘breakout’ of the work environment, giving them a chance for a change of scenery and a rest for their brain leaving them refreshed and stimulated – hence the name ‘breakout spaces’. Breakout spaces are becoming more and more popular for ad hoc meetings, providing a great collaboration zone for meetings that could otherwise be tedious.
Looking at successful breakout spaces throughout the UK we have come up with the following 4 points for success in your breakout space:
Colour – giving your employees a chance to simply look at a different colour has the effect of stimulating different senses, thus giving them a fresh outlook on the task at hand. Painting each wall of your breakout space a different colour or putting in different colours of chairs gives them fresh inspiration and a break from their screens. To help with your choice of colour, we wrote this article - Colourful Minds.
Seating – this is a major factor in making your breakout spaces perfect for your employees. Providing a sofa or something similar that is dramatically different from the operator seating within the office environment provides a break in the way they sit, affecting their ability and clarity of thinking. Also, different levels of seating are fundamental to a successful breakout space as different people will adjust better to different levels. Giving them this change of seating also provides an opportunity for them to meet and socialise with teammates – a good way to bring in team bonding in your office.
Coffee/Tea point – this is a MUST in all breakout spaces. As well as providing refreshment, they also give your employees a chance to focus on a different task, i.e. making the hot drink. On this note, it is a good idea to put the coffee/tea point a safe walking distance from the desking area, giving them a chance for a healthy walk but not too far so as to be dangerous. Health in your workplace has to be a number 1 factor for design.
Environment – everything is important in creating the perfect environment to break in to. The ceilings/walls/partitions all contribute to the atmosphere around you, making the choice of materials etc essential to creating the right atmosphere. Breakout spaces are created as a place where your employees can, in fact, forget about the tasks in hand for a short while to reboot their brain capacity, therefore they should look and feel as different as possible to the main office.
If you feel like you don’t have the right area in your building for an entirely new breakout space – the ‘booths’ that are currently flooding the market are a great option. They come in all shapes and sizes, literally, and colour is the order of the day! Pictured below are just some of the great designs that we love.