The Rise of Recreation Rooms in the Corporate World
The Corporate World Just Got Serious About Spare Time
Whether you are a business owner or an employee, you know the importance of work-life balance.
Unfortunately, it is a rare Australian dream.
Things are beginning to change though.
Over the past few years, more and more companies are revolutionising the way they build their offices.
It’s not just mancaves any more; interior design is changing. You may have noticed the rise in popularity of open offices.
Employees can work anywhere they feel comfortable, whether it is in the lounge area or the balcony.
Some take nature appreciation to the next level with gigantic office plants within the buildings.
Different ideas are floating around. However, there is one trend that is emerging.
Numerous Australian companies are beginning to provide play areas for their employees.
Seeing the benefits of office recreation rooms in the workplace, firms are looking for ways to make the shared office space functional and inspiring at the same time.
What is a Workplace Recreation Room?
Recreation rooms for employees work just like the ones for babies and kids. Also known as break rooms, play areas, recharge rooms, and game rooms, they are designed to entertain workers during their break-time.
When designing a workplace, one of the most important factors to consider is its functionality. While offices are mainly for work, employers know that work-life balance is essential. And it can now start at the company itself.
Recreation rooms allow businesses to enhance the productivity of the employees while allowing them to enjoy their time at work. It is essential to keep them happy, satisfied, and relaxed, which are the key ingredients to a productive employee.
There Are a Variety of Types of Recreation Rooms, Such as the Following:
- Game rooms, which have been proven to increase productivity in several aspects like morale, creativity, and job satisfaction. Some examples of designs include high-quality pool tables, video game systems, and ping pong.
- TV rooms, which are commonly provided for managers, offering them a pause from their work. They also become a great way for supervisors to bond and improve office unity.
- Creativity rooms for relaxation while fostering creativity, consisting of a variety of objects that support the goal. These things can include the use of virtual reality headsets for painting or even designing bonsai trees.
- Other businesses also provide nap rooms and spaces for meditation or yoga. The options are endless and designing them can be fun. However, it can be challenging, especially for companies to keep the employees entertained and productive at the same time.
The Undeniable Link Between Employee Productivity and Recreation
Employees all over the world strive to ensure that they perform their best whenever they are at work. As a result, they work overtime, working on more projects. Most of the time, they rarely take a break. Working hard is essential but it is not effective anymore. Worse, employees know that it is not good for their health.
For the reasons mentioned, workers create a recipe for disaster. They require sufficient breaks from work to help improve their efficiency and productivity. Taking a break also maintains mental wellbeing while avoiding problems with overall work performance.
When employees are overworked, they deal with chronic stress, which often leads to burnout. It directly affects both the health of the worker and the company’s bottom line. Business owners have seen the negative effects of job burnouts due to stress and inadequate breaks. It led to more companies providing a way for their employees to recharge so they can perform their best until the end of the workday.
A survey showed that lunch breaks are indeed essential. In North America, 20% of the respondents worried that their bosses would think they do not work hard if they take a break. Almost 15% more believed that their co-workers would view them in a different way. About 22% of bosses did say that employees who regularly take lunch breaks are not as enthusiastic as their counterparts.
The same survey though had almost 90% of the respondents say that taking a break during the middle of the day helps them feel refreshed. Therefore, they can get more work done. It can even result in better performance.
Meanwhile, in Australia, businesses lose over 40 days each year for every worker because of absenteeism. Unfortunately, it has a huge impact on the productivity of the workplace. According to Australia’s Healthiest Workplace (AHW) survey in 2017, an employer can lose about $10 million annually because of low employee productivity.
Measuring employee productivity, along with the total output, is through the amount of work produced every hour. It is based on the costs required to maintain the operations of the business. Therefore, when an organisation is efficient, the output levels are high.
Statistics prove that breaks are needed in every workspace, no matter the industry. When there is a properly managed room for recreation, it can provide numerous benefits for the business. Many factors influence the company’s output, including staff motivation and implemented working practices. Companies are already aware of these facts. However, it is now time to focus more on the suitability of the working environment for the employees.
The Increasing Popularity of Employee Recreation Rooms
Some business leaders in Australia fail to see the relationship between the working environment and employee productivity. In fact, less than 50% of Australian companies have recharge stations for resting, relaxing, and playing for their staff since 2014. Things are expected to change in the coming years though. Many companies are now introducing recharge areas that can benefit the performance of the employees. At the same time, these rooms can contribute to the increase in operational and financial outputs.
All around the world, numerous companies are taking steps to boost employee morale through break rooms. It is because they know that it can help improve productivity and creativity. Over the last few years, firms in Australia and other countries built spaces where employees can relax and unwind so they can recharge their energy and motivation to work.
Break rooms have plenty of benefits, which will be discussed later. The companies that have added these spaces to their facility know about these advantages. Some examples are:
- PopCap Games in Seattle, Washington – This company offers hit games to its customers and has over 400 employees. PopCap Games is aware that pulling in the best workers and keeping them is crucial to the success of the first. It is why they have break rooms consisting of an area where the employees can watch movies. It has oversized TVs where they can also play video games.
Meanwhile, there are also whiteboards where the workers can write down their thoughts and feelings. For those who want to call a loved one, they can go to a private phone room. Every floor of the company’s headquarters has a kitchen. Pool players can also invite their friends from work and compete against each other.
- Airbnb in San Francisco, California – The company offers a marketplace for people to provide accommodations and list them online. Millions of nights are booked and hundreds of thousands of listings are submitted from across the globe. The employees are indeed busy, helping to keep the operations going
The break room culture at the headquarters is quite interesting. There are ping pong and pool tables. Yoga classes are provided every week as well. All employees can access a kitchen where an expert chef works, serving the best lunch every single day.
- Google in Australia – With approximately 800 members of the staff, it is important for the search engine company to retain its best employees. It is why they offer numerous benefits for everyone, especially when they are on a break. Employees can head to the fitness facilities to do some yoga. There are also sites for massages and spas.
Lunches are provided, along with breakfast and dinner for those who need to stay onsite. Sleeping pods, cafes, and micro-kitchens are also within the company’s compound. Games and activities are offered as well, including pool, wall climbing, biking, and more.
- LinkedIn in Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne – Lunches are served, along with snacks and drinks. Different perks are available depending on the location. For instance, there is a mother’s room in Sydney. Those who want to enjoy a day with healthy activities, such as yoga and Pilates can also take advantage of these offerings. The office has a break-out area where the employees can play foosball and table tennis. Those who like to play ping pong and pool may also find their space in the company’s facilities.
Other Benefits of Work Break Rooms for Every Business
Recreation rooms are not just for big companies. They also help small to medium businesses in so many ways. Business owners who are looking for bigger incentives to convince them to build this room can consider even more benefits below:
- Productivity: It is easy to see why employers think that letting staff members take a break counters productivity. However, it is the opposite. Employees are human beings who require breaks so they can regain their focus. Their energy levels are drained because of their repetitive tasks. Others face a lot of stress due to their job. Stepping away from their desks, even for just an hour, can help a lot. With recreation rooms, it is easier to prevent unproductivity, especially during the middle of the day.
- Mental health: To recharge, employees should stay away from stress. However, it is not always possible at work. Regular exposure to stressors can be detrimental to the mental health of the employee. Just a quick walk or a round of pool with co-workers can increase motivation while alleviating stress.
- Creativity: Tough projects can crop up every now and then. Even seasoned experts can run out of ideas. Taking a break and going into the recreation room can quickly refresh the employees’ minds and creative power.
- Health: Getting up to play pool, ping pong, or any game can help immensely. Just by walking around for a few minutes can reduce the occurrence of health problems due to sitting all day. Employees can also take a break and meditate. Small steps towards self-care can help avoid issues that many workers face.
- Community: Break rooms encourage employees to interact with one another. It is a great opportunity for everyone to get to know other people. Most of the time, employees only talk to those who are within their own departments. With these recreation rooms, barriers are broken, making it easier to communicate with other individuals in the company.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of having a recharge room is that it helps avoid job burnouts. Companies are aware that they need to shell out money to keep their best employees. However, hiring new people costs more. It is why it makes sense to do everything within means to ensure satisfaction exists within the workplace. One way is to simply provide breaks with a break room equipped with different sources of entertainment.
Tips for Designing a Break Room
Aside from the actual workspaces of the employees, the break room is an incredibly significant part of the office. To get all the benefits mentioned above, it is crucial to design the room smartly. Here are some tips that can help companies create a desirable and effective recharge room:
- Add a Pool Table – Everyone loves playing pool. Employees will love using the gaming room more frequently when there is a high-quality pool table around. It is noticeable that the companies mentioned above have break rooms with pool tables. It is because they are aware that people enjoy playing it. Playing a game of pool has numerous benefits, aside from being amusing. It may not require strength and heart-racing stunts but playing pool can improve health in many ways. It can slow down aging in men, burn calories effectively, and even improve mental focus. Pool tables are a smart investment, especially for business owners that are building their recreation room. A high-quality table is not exactly cheap but no one should ever settle for a poor quality one just to save. They will only end up wasting money if they are not willing to invest in the right pool table. Quality tables can last for several years. Plus, they provide a great time instead of a frustrating experience when they cannot execute smooth shots on bumpy tables.
- Know the needs of the employees – For an employee policy to be successful, it is crucial to engage the workers. The same is true when it comes to designing recreation rooms. Employees should also be a part of the process. A 2013 survey discovered that employees who were given a choice and a chance to voice out their opinions increased the level of happiness and satisfaction.
The top firms that design the recreation room actually spend time talking to the employees and not just employers. They also observe the patterns and behaviour of the staff to get a sense of how people carry out their tasks each day. Finally, they look for ways to maximise interactions between the staff before a plan is formed.
- Provide free stuff – Coffee, for instance, can encourage the employees to visit the recreation room more often. Coffee has always been a part of most offices and for a good reason. Therefore, companies ensure that the members of the staff have easy access to coffee, along with other extras, such as cups, stirrers, cream, and sugar. Caffeine is also a mood booster and has other perks. Drinking a cup of coffee can increase attention span and focus on many people. Additionally, it can benefit the company because it helps improve mental energy among the workers. This way, when they get back to work, they can fulfil their duties with minimal distractions.
- Have comfortable chairs and tables – Recreation rooms are not complete without a sitting area where the employees can relax and truly take a break. A lunch table, for instance, is a crucial part of the room. During lunch breaks, the workers can grab their meal and head to the dining area where they can also interact with other people. It is a great opportunity to build camaraderie within the organisation.The more time people spend making these conversations, the more comfortable they get. It can be useful for the company in many ways. The most important reason is that it can aid in solving existing issues that other departments can help with. These discussions can also encourage interpersonal connections while improving the teamwork in the company. It is a win-win for everyone.
- Mix and match furniture pieces – Business owners can provide sofas and regular chairs. However, they do not promote a dynamic recreation room. Add bar-height stools and tables. These additions generate a more relaxed atmosphere. Everyone can choose whether they want to stand or sit at varying heights.
- Make it colourful – While oak-grain tables are a break room staple through the years, they can get boring. Bringing in new colours for a modernised look can create casual comfort. At the same time, these changes help keep the employees’ mind away from work, giving them the chance to relax effectively.
An office is a place where the staff works but it does not mean it should be a stressful environment.
Break the mould by adding a recreation room to show you value your employees.