Discover what office breakout areas are, how they are used, what the benefits are, and how to introduce them to your office space.
With workplaces beginning to invite their employees back in, now is the perfect time to explore how you can optimise your office space for maximum productivity, creativity and efficiency.
Office breakout areas are a fantastic way to achieve that. Here is our complete guide to what office breakout areas are, what they are used for, what the benefits are of introducing them to your office space, and how to create them.
What is an office breakout area?
Breakout areas are spaces available to employees (or visitors) that are separate from their usual working areas. These can be used as a place for people to relax, eat their lunch or hold informal meetings. Breakout spaces themselves don’t generally follow a defined purpose. However, a breakout area can set the tone for the type of work people do in these spaces.
A breakout area tucked into a quiet corner might attract employees looking for a hideaway; a place to concentrate on something important for a short time. However, a centrally located breakout area within an open-plan office might encourage collaboration by attracting small groups who need a place to brainstorm. The atmosphere of a breakout space signals to employees the type of environment they can expect to work in.
What are they used for?
- Providing spaces for employee relaxation and refreshment, possibly including facilities for making/dispensing coffee, tea and refreshments.
- Creating places to think through work activities, gain inspiration, review projects and work away from a computer screen for a while.
- Making areas available for informal meetings, collaborative working and brainstorming sessions.
- Exercise and leisure space; often used for yoga or games.
What are the benefits of breakout areas?
There are many benefits of using breakout areas, which vary depending on how you decide to use the space within your own business. Some of the most common include:
- Can create an area free of distraction.
- Allows employees to get away from the screens from time to time.
- Encourages collaboration across all departments of the business.
- Stimulates innovative ideas, team-working and creativity.
- Gives visitors visibility of good collaborative working and therefore gives a positive impression of a business and its ethos.
- Promotes movement in the office.
- Can be used for additional workspace.
- Promotes wellbeing and demonstrates investment into staff.
How to create an effective breakout area
Office breakout area design should aim for flexibility, which can be made possible by the choice of breakout space furniture, the use of movable screening and other techniques.
A variety of options in terms of seating styles is wise, to provide something that suits everyone. You also need to consider location as a key factor; quiet, focussed areas should be tucked away, but areas to encourage collaboration need to be easily accessible to all staff.
In an increasingly informal and fluid business environment, breakout and collaboration areas are now often used for face-to-face meetings with customers and stakeholders. This makes it important that breakout design ideas not only support the wellbeing and motivation of staff, but reflect the branding and dynamics of the business concerned.
If you are short on space in your office you can still utilise breakout areas, especially if your office is set up as a flexible work environment. Breakout areas don’t necessarily have to take up lots of space; a few sofas or a phone booth within the office can be enough sometimes.
What’s my next step?
If you are interested in discussing how you could use breakout areas in your office, please contact us today. We have extensive experience creating personalised breakout spaces for businesses in a wide range of industries, for a wide range of uses. In addition, we have a few examples in our showroom that you can walk around and explore. Book your visit to our showroom here to see them in person.