Three Reasons to Love Your Breakroom

These days, it seems like everyone feels that they need to be doing more to prove themselves. If you’re trying to show that you’re a hard worker, the breakroom seems like the last place you want to be seen. The breakroom really doesn’t deserve its bad reputation as a time-waster. It has more to offer your office than a caffeine buzz. Having a nice place that encourages employees to come together can benefit your business in several ways.

1. It’s good for your brain.

Want to make better decisions throughout the day? Head for the breakroom. A few minutes of friendly chit-chat around the coffee pot or water cooler will give your brain a big boost. According to researchers at the University of Michigan, short social interactions lead to improvements in multiple important cognitive functions, including problem solving, planning, and execution, as well as working memory, reasoning, and mental flexibility. Keep it positive though. Competitive or catty conversations don’t have the same effect.

2. It’s good for productivity.

Having trouble getting through you to-do list? Spending some time face-to-face with your colleagues could help. Researchers at MIT used special badges to track workers as they moved through their day and found that people who had more social interactions with their co-workers were more productive – and those with the largest social networks were the most productive of all. What’s more, when they revised the schedules of lower-productivity team to allow them to take breaks together, their productivity jumped as much as 15%! So next time you see a group heading for the breakroom, give them some slack. They’re probably getting more done than you realize.

3. It’s good for morale.

If you want to see more smiles in your office, look to the breakroom. Showing your employees that you appreciate them by offering some extra perks can make a big difference in the overall mood of your workplace. When surveyed, more than 70% of employees said that having a well-stocked breakroom would make them happier at work. Even having larger tables that allow co-workers to sit together in groups can increase morale by up to 25%. Showing your appreciation with a few new amenities can pay off in other ways, too. In another survey, 69% of employees said they worked harder when they felt they were being appreciated and recognized for their work.

Of course, in order to see all of these benefits, your breakroom has to be a place people want to visit so make sure it’s clean and properly outfitted. Here are some of the basics you should provide:

  • Appliances, including a coffee maker, refrigerator, and microwave.
  • Drinks, such as coffee, tea, and hot cocoa. Also, make sure you have a water cooler, water fountain, or other source of water.
  • Paper products, such as plates, napkins, forks, and spoons.
  • Cleaning supplies so employees can clean up after themselves. Have an all-purpose spray cleaner or tub of disinfecting wipes handy so they can clean up spills on counters and tables.

If you really want to make your breakroom the place to be, consider adding some snacks like popcorn, pretzels, or crackers. Some entertainment options, like a TV, some magazines, or cards and board games are also nice additions.