As workplaces continue to evolve, one very popular trend has taken hold of offices around the world: the breakout area. A breakout area isn’t exactly a room, but it is a distinct space open to employees or visitors that is separate from their usual working area. It is a versatile space that can be used for relaxation, eating lunch and having informal meetings.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reported that stress-related absence in 2015-16 accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost for the same reason. The financial rewards of increased staff health and productivity are apparent, so businesses have started to see the benefits of creating relaxation areas dedicated to their staffs’ well-being. Because breakout space is so adaptable, office designers in the UK have implemented some innovative and imaginative ideas to give employees the breaks they need to comply with health and safety laws. We’ve selected three of the best breakout area designs in the UK to offer businesses some inspiration.
The whole office design was based on a bohemian chic theme with plenty of eclectic elements coming together to create a space that could inspire staff and impress clients. In one area, musical instruments, books and games were compiled to encourage bonding between team members. Other open areas have comfortable sofas and communal tables with eclectic lighting and bring the outdoors inside with glass-fronted sheds as meeting rooms sharing the same open plan space. It seamlessly blends modernity with nature and the result is a surprisingly stylish office space that will have no trouble attracting and retaining staff.
The Salamanca Group
It isn’t just creative companies that benefit from relaxation areas. The Salamanca Group, an investment company that manages the assets of high net worth individuals, also now benefits from an inviting space for its employees. The bank wanted to encourage employees to relax in a common area during their breaks so it installed a 9-metre breakfast bar capable of seating 40 people as its centrepiece. This was a very creative solution to dealing with the long and narrow shape of the office’s floor plate on the top floor of a prestigious Mayfair building. The company’s breakout areas combine soft furnishings with multipurpose chairs giving staff a comfortable place to relax away from their computer screens. The kitchen takes away the need for employees to leave the building for coffee-runs and offers a space which improves staff morale.
EMO & TRA
Studies suggest that a clever use of colour in the office space boosts employee happiness and productivity. As a result, many modern offices have brightly coloured pieces of furniture, statement walls and vivid works of art in their breakout areas. One such company, EMO & TRA, is a specialist communications and branding group that has heavily invested in creating the right surroundings for their staff. A big focus is on collaboration and they found that using plenty of open breakout areas enhanced creativity and communication.
Additionally, providing a laid-back and relaxing environment has many benefits in terms of productivity and staff engagement. The open floor plan is infused with natural light and wide open spaces. The range of breakout spaces encompasses everything from small booths to a large but informal theatre-style presentation area for 50 people that has tiered seating with brightly pattern cushions. The breakout areas at EMO & TRA are perfect for impromptu meet-ups with fellow employees or informal meetings with clients. The large kitchen allows people to gather at different style tables including traditional canteen tables, high tables with stools and a corner with trendy coffee-shop style sofas. The central area has a blackboard for brainstorming and collaborative work, again benefiting from an abundance of natural light from the windows. The large windows have been complemented by unobtrusive artificial lighting to ensure a comfortable environment for employees.