Breakout spaces: Are they beneficial in open-plan offices?
Published by Pall Mall Estates on 17th December 2019 -
When it comes to contemporary open-plan office designs, breakout spaces are fast becoming more prevalent and desirable, helping to change the way employees socialise and work for the better. In today’s always-connected, time-poor world that we live in, breakout spaces can be a significant boon for businesses, providing the difference between focused, collaborative staff and a disengaged, unproductive workforce.
If your business has never considered a breakout space before, giving staff an area to get away from their desks and socialise or share knowledge and have informal meetings with colleagues, here are four clear benefits to investing in an office breakout area:
Facilitate staff interaction and collaboration
This has to be one of the main benefits of breakout spaces in an open-plan office. Some staff find open-plan offices rather daunting. Everyone within earshot can hear you talk, and some people therefore decide to sit quietly at their desk and work with their headphones on, only communicating with others via email.
Breakout spaces help to change the mindset of employees offering separate space, away from desks, to have informal discussions and catch-ups on projects and share knowledge that can be of the benefit to the wider team. Breakout areas have the potential to bring together minds that would not ordinarily converse in an open-plan office, particularly if they are in different departments. In turn, this has a knock-on effect on employees’ happiness and productivity.
Offer an alternative location to work
Some employees find it difficult to sit at the same office chair and desk day in, day out. They can become irritable and unfocused, which can also have a detrimental impact on your company’s bottom line. Breakout spaces, strategically positioned in areas with abundant natural light, can offer a healthy alternative workspace for brief periods, helping to foster creativity and positivity into your employees’ working day.
It promotes staff wellbeing and movement
There have been some truly alarming studies in recent years that have warned about the correlation between desk working and life expectancy. The majority of desk workers sit at the same desk for most of their working day, apart from toilet breaks and perhaps a lunchtime snack. Breakout spaces can therefore promote staff wellbeing, incentivising them to get up from their chairs and move around the office.
Some breakout areas now include standing desks that are ideal for sociable, collaborative meetings with colleagues and get the blood pumping. Designating a dedicated breakout area gives your business the flexibility to do things differently for your employees.
A distraction-free environment
Make no mistake about it, open-plan offices can be loud, disruptive places to work at times. There may be the constant drone of printers and photocopiers, telephones ringing and subsequent conversations and even office music in the background. Breakout areas are the perfect getaway for employees, enjoying a tranquil space to focus on their work when they need to the most, such as a tight upcoming deadline. The end result is that employees get greater job satisfaction knowing they can do their best work, thus having a positive effect on your bottom line.
An investment in breakout areas is a win-win situation for you and your talented workforce.