Appropriate zoning is a must for the modern office but you’d still be forgiven for wondering what a ‘breakout space’ actually is and whether it’s essential for your business.
We’re here today to clear that up: a breakout space is defined as ‘an area that is separate from the established or formal working zones’. Or, to elaborate further, a breakout space in the office is somewhere available for employees to relocate and spend time during the working day, either merely as a vacay from their desk or as somewhere to collaborate with other members of the team in a shared space.
From the point of view of an employer, providing a decent breakout space allows employees to concentrate, away from the stress and noise of their desk and the main office.
Yes, it may also encourage a spot of relaxation or social interaction here and there, but those things are also a boost for productivity, considering the grand scheme of things. Employees are able to concentrate and head back to their own desks refreshed after a little time away.
So offering the option of ‘breaking out’ creates happier, healthier and more productive staff – which employer wouldn’t want to achieve that goal?
You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve created a list of 7 Office Breakout Ideas we’ve discovered around the globe (ok, the internet!) to help you to create an enticing space, taking you through some of the examples we’ve found to inspire you and explaining what we can learn from them.
Let’s think about durability
You want your breakout space to be used, right? Ideally regularly. Any space that’s going to get regular use needs to be practical and durable, and perhaps uses preloved items that are standing the test of time and won’t go out of fashion anytime soon. This helps ensure you get the most from your investment and it’s more environmentally friendly, too.
Make smart choices when it comes to furnishings and materials, like this former chemical factory in Buenos Aires.
The Cinco office is a great example of a pared-back, timeless design that will offer the lucky employees flexibility and a welcoming space for years to come.
Take it outside
Being out in the open air and daylight has so many wonderful benefits on mood and productivity. If your office has the option to have an al fresco break out area, grab it with both (green-fingered) hands!
Web design company, Kinetic, has created multiple collaborative breakout areas for staff, including this work/play rooftop terrace that makes the most of the good weather and fresh air!
Think big… and small
Optimise the space available to you, including otherwise unused patches, no matter how small the nook or cranny may seem!
A breakout area doesn’t have to be big and can easily be used for solo working or tucked away quiet time. Almost any desk break is better than none.
This example in the Cisco offices shows the larger, communal breakout zones with those lovely sofas, but also provides a private space in the form of that wall nook. We love how stylish it looks while being entirely functional and unobtrusive.
Go hard on a theme
One way to make it clear that different zones are for different purposes or types of work is to use a fun concept to change the tone.
The Ogilvy office in China opted for a bold theme titled ‘A Carnival of Ideas’ and they’ve really gone for it!
The little breakout areas in the form of Ferris wheel cabins are paired with life-sized nutcrackers and merry-go-round horses. It’s completely bonkers but incredibly effective and barely feels like the same office, giving staff a proper break from the norm.
Think outside the box
Following on from the last point, why even follow the rulebook at all?
Toss it out of the window and make up your own rules. Thinking outside the box can open new doors, and with a breakout space there really are no specific requirements – it’s more about what would work best for your team. This means you can have a little fun with it at the brainstorming stage of the project, push the boundaries of your creativity and come up with some unique ideas. We love this part!
Ecommerce software company Shopify’s HQ in Canada features plenty of spaces in which to work, relax or play.
We love this cosy little ‘library’ on the speakeasy-themed floor. Employees can book the rooms using Google Calendar, and reservations show up on iPads outside the door.
That’s how it’s done!
Inject some serious colour
A vibrant and appealing colour scheme is a must if you want to encourage people to actually use the space. It has to be inspiring enough to be a good alternative to their regular desk working. Think about your brand colours, consider the psychology of colour use and add different hues with furniture, flooring, decor.
Airbnb has a very flexible policy and their design team is free to roam and work anywhere that takes their fancy in this amazing San Francisco office.
The studio is set out like a ‘neighbourhood’ and the bold colours create a collection of wonderfully appealing zones. (So good it needed two pictures because one wouldn’t do it justice!)
Incorporate your company branding
If you’re going to the trouble of creating a new space – one where there are little-to-no rules in terms of decor – you might as well throw your brand at it.
Nurturing that brand experience and a strong company identity means ensuring that your staff are on-board and reminded of the fact that they work for a great company, even when they’re having a moment or two away from their desks. It also makes a great impression on visitors to the office.
Brand agency ICRAVE in NYC has combined minimalist aspects with bold branding in their office.
This flexible breakout space has a ‘reception desk’ which doubles up as a DJ booth for added fun but their logo is a prominent part of the design.
Now, we know that there’s got to be something in this collection you can use to kickstart your next project.
We’re sure your staff will love the new breakout space in your office but if you need any more expert advice or assistance, our team of knowledgeable and friendly interior design professionals are happy to join forces with you and really craft something special for your business.
Get in touch with us and let’s get things moving on your workplace redesign or renovation soon.