The Role of Breakout Areas in Office Design

Bálint Erényi at June 16, 2023

Promoting Relaxation and Social Interaction

Taking breaks taken seriously

How employees use their time while working is one thing. But how they spend their time between their ‘work surges’ is just as equally important.

We have finally reached an era when companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of designing office spaces that foster employee well-being and productivity. One crucial aspect of office design that has gained significant attention is incorporating breakout areas.

These designated spaces within the office provide employees with a chance to relax, recharge, and engage in much-needed chit-chat, sharing ideas, or just finding someone to talk to.

In this article, we explore breakout areas’ vital role in office design and their impact on employee satisfaction and performance.

And… scene.

Breakout areas are designed to offer employees a change of scenery from their usual workstations.

By providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, these spaces promote relaxation and allow employees to take much-needed breaks throughout the day.

Michigan State University has concluded that regular breaks, particularly in relaxed environments, contribute to improved focus, creativity, and overall well-being.

By incorporating breakout areas into office design, companies demonstrate their commitment to employee health and work-life balance.

We are people after all

In addition to providing relaxation, breakout areas also facilitate social interaction among employees.

These spaces create opportunities for casual conversations, idea sharing, and collaboration outside the constraints of formal meetings and workstations.

It comes as no surprise that recent studies say that 59% of people see breakout areas as essential to a workplace. By fostering social connections, breakout areas contribute to a positive workplace culture and boost employee morale.

Time well spent

Contrary to the misconception that breakout areas are merely recreational spaces, they have been proven to have a positive impact on productivity.

Taking regular breaks and engaging in social interaction can significantly reduce employee stress levels, combatting burnout and enhancing focus. Several studies revealed that brief mental breaks, such as those taken in breakout areas, can improve work performance. By investing in these spaces, companies can create an environment that promotes both relaxation and productivity.

How should it look like

To maximize the benefits of breakout areas, thoughtful design and careful consideration of employee needs are essential. These areas should be strategically placed within the office layout to encourage accessibility and spontaneous interactions.

Comfortable seating, natural light, and appealing aesthetics contribute to creating a welcoming and rejuvenating environment. Equipping breakout areas with amenities such as coffee stations, recreational activities, and flexible seating arrangements can further enhance their appeal and utility.

Incorporating breakout areas into office design is no longer just a trend but a strategic choice for businesses that prioritize employee satisfaction, well-being, and productivity. By providing spaces for relaxation and social interaction, companies create an environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and a positive workplace culture. As organizations continue to adapt to evolving work dynamics, recognizing the importance of breakout areas in office design is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent.