Every Workplace Needs a Breakout Zone - It's Simple
We work on a technological highway these days where traffic is heavy and intense. Screen time reaches peak hour status.
The need to pull over and take a break is essential in maintaining our health and wellbeing.
We all probably know that long periods in front of a screen increase eye strain and headaches, that stress levels from working in front of a screen without a break for a long period are known to rise and that RSI pain in the hands and wrists can result from long sessions on a keyboard.
So, having a space within the workplace to escape these screen issues is essential.
A “parking bay” where conversation, ideas and re-gathering of thoughts can take place.
A Breakout Zone.
How to create one? Pretty easy, really.
1. Keep it simple - breakout zones don’t have to be overdone.
If you don’t already have one, try to find a space to clear out to create one…. a space within a space. Dividing screens are a great idea for separating spaces. Be creative and work either from the floor or the ceiling or span both! Use plants, aluminium or acrylic cut out screens, acoustic panels … there’s many options.
2. Focus on creating an area which looks different from the rest of the workplace and promotes an atmosphere where workers can feel comfortable away from the screen.
A flooring change – as simple as a rug will help create the zone.
3. Use something inspirational to encourage casual conversations amongst staff .
The more staff are inspired to collaborate and share knowledge and ideas, the better.
An inspirational board where ideas and encouragements can be written is a good tool.
4. Avoid the boardroom look of a large table and chairs.
It’s too official.
Make a space which encourages impromptu get-togethers, where a few individual workers or a team can jump together for a quick catch-up or pooling of ideas.
5. Choose the furniture wisely.
Cute little stools to perch on, comfortable chairs and a table .... mix up the styles to allow for flexibility. Chairs, stools, sofas – combine them to create that variety. Choose bright colours or interesting patterns to invigorate and inspire.
6. Acoustic style seating, though more expensive is a great idea.
It shields users from the typical noise and distraction of open-plan offices. The advantage of these is not only that they cut down sound, but they also create a ‘room within a room’- ideal for small groups in informal meetings. No need for any further screening.
There’s no doubt that the workplace environment has an impact on how employees feel, so plan that breakout zone to offer short and frequent breaks which can motivate and inspire.