Creative Corners: 3rd Space in Breakrooms

Around noon, there is often a hub of office activity as many employees begin to plan their lunch breaks, recharge, or step away for a cup of coffee; some even just eager for the change of scenery and an excuse to speak with coworkers and friends.  But this casual conversation may have bigger implications as social interactions often lead to the exchange of information, ideas, and brainstorming.

A historically untapped area of the office building, have you imagined the potential of the office breakroom?  Highlighted in Companies recast office breakroom as collaborative workspace, the new business third space may not need to be created – but rather, revamped:

“Now some companies are seeing office kitchens in a new light, turning them into gathering showplaces intended to boost morale, encourage collaboration and impress clients.”

Using this forward thinking trend as inspiration, below is our menu for creating the perfect office third space breakroom:

 1. Appetizer:  Stimulate your employees’ appetites with an incentive to go to a separate space.

An area separate with comfortable furniture, access to food, and possibilities for technology creates a desirable, inspiring, and purposeful destination, making the space a place employees want to be.  Creating somewhat of a “Starbucks” allure or experience, provide staff with an incentive for collaboration, an excuse to be physically active during the day (See: 9 Principles for Active Design in the Workplace).

2.  Main Course:  Cross-Pollination of Departments paired with an Exchange of Ideas

Once arrived, the opportunity to creatively mingle with others is endless.

“Ordinarily, you wouldn’t be encouraged to mingle with people…You get to learn more about other departments in an informal way and I can have impromptu, informal meetings with my boss. It really has become sort of a favorite spot.”

Nothing beats the clarity of face-to-face communication.  Questions answered and exchange of ideas through a quick brainstorm in a designated informal touchdown space is also a wonderful way to boost morale.

“For a lot of our clients there is new focus on creating spaces that bring people together…Spaces that get them jazzed about interesting interactions and make them feel like the company is giving something back to them.”

3.  Dessert:  Delicious Top Talent

In addition to keeping employees happy, a comfortable space with modern amenities can also be a great attraction strategy for top talent:

“Management interest in building plush kitchens often goes beyond making employees happy and impressing clients and new recruits, he acknowledged. Unfriendly kitchens have the effect of pushing employees out the front door at mealtime, something that financial trading firms and other businesses such as tech start-ups want to avoid because they need workers at their posts for long hours…’If you can provide a great place for lunch or a snack it helps to keep them in the office.”

Once created, the physical space of an office can have beneficial psychological effects, maximize the useful square footage of a building, keep employees happy, spur collaboration, and become an attraction strategy for top notch new hires.  Contact us today to create your own 3rd space in your breakroom or cafeteria.