Take a look at any office environment today and you may be surprised by just how unique and personalized the modern workspace has become. Compared to only a decade ago when offices were still notoriously drab and monochromatic, a new era of priorities and collaborative creativity has virtually upended the traditional design scheme for offices of all shapes and sizes. Not only are individual workspaces taking on an entirely new look, but the modern office break room has also become a significantly more relaxed and social environment. If you have been looking for your own office coffee station ideas or office break room organization, here are a few strategies and tips you can use to get started!
Expand Your Selections
When you’re shopping for your break room coffee hardware, you can find great coffee machines for small offices that also provide room in your budget for purchasing other amenities. For example, Keurig machines can typically be acquired within the $100 - $300 price range, and Mr. Coffee coffee machines are by far one of the most affordable and commonly used devices in offices today.
Additional Beverages and Coffee Alternatives
There are a significant number of non-coffee drinking adults across the country who feel left out when they approach their office coffee station. The lack of beverage alternatives, such as tea or juice, can transform an otherwise excellent office amenity into a source of frustration and dismay. With these ideas in mind, you should take a moment to analyze your own coffee station and consider what its primary purpose actually is.
If you’re hoping to create a benefit for all employees, then you need to supplement your standard coffee options. For those who could benefit from the morning caffeine kick, green and black teas are a popular and affordable option. If you have refrigeration available, you could also stock a variety of fruit juices and milk products as well.
Integrating Your Coffee Machine and Drink Station
Now that you’ve got the machine and drink collection that complements your office and suits your budget, your next priority should be determining the best possible setup. You should keep your coffee station in a location where employees can relax and decompress for a few moments, or socialize with one another.The area should also be relatively open, allowing multiple employees to congregate without feeling cramped.
Here's what our coffee station at Blue Summit Supplies looks like.
Break Room Bulletin Board Ideas
Much like your coffee station, your break room bulletin board can also act as a powerful tool for improving and maintaining office morale and collaborative synergy.
Consider all the different types of information your bulletin board could display. For example, you could include any of the following:
- Employee success stories
- Important HR information
- Simple games / activities
- Local news
- ‘Forum-style’ contributions from employees
- Local artwork
Instead of framing your bulletin board as a tool for communicating toemployees, think of it as a means to communicating withmembers of your team. Allowing individuals to express themselves in a fun, engaging way can not only build valuable rapport and nurture professional relationships, but it can also act as a valuable form of stress and anxiety relief.
In today’s society, it is all too easy to get wrapped up in information appearing on your computer monitor or phone and start to feel alone. Something as simple as a bulletin board can pull employees away from their devices and ensure that everyone has a moment of lighthearted joy during their day.
Whatever your specific break room bulletin board ideas may be, you should also consider asking employees what they would like to see on the bulletin board. Creating an opportunity for employee contribution and “ownership” over something in the office will yield positive dividends over time.
Furniture and the Subtle Art of Relaxation
While your employees are drinking coffee or browsing newsletters and bulletin boards, where are they sitting? Your office break room decor choices should allow employees the space and time to relax without getting toorelaxed. While a huge bean bag sofa may be a novel addition to a family game room, it may seem too informal or indulgent for the office.
Also, consider the dynamics of your workspace. How many people currently work in your office? Are employees relatively relaxed and friendly with one another, or is the office culture more rigid and professional? Don’t try to buck the prevailing trends of your office space with your furniture choices. For example, don’t force employees to smash themselves onto a couch together if they aren’t already friends, or at least on friendly terms.
Furniture choices will also come down to your budget. Don’t sacrifice other valuable decoration ideas in order to buy a luxurious sofa or break room table. Employees will only spend a few minutes at any given time in the break room, so your furniture should be pragmatic while still being welcoming and comfortable.
Exploring Your Color Choices
Outside of objects such as coffee machines, bulletin boards, and furniture, there is still room for improvement when it comes to maximizing the positive influence of your coffee station or break room. You may be surprised at just how much of an impact the colors you choose for your break room can have on the attitudes and energy levels of your employees. There have been numerous studies around the world which have quantified how an individual responds to specific interior color choices. For example, bold colors such as red and black invoke a completely different collection of emotions than pastel blues and greens.
If you’re aiming for a fun and invigorating break room, diversify your color palette and try to build unique combinations of ‘unexpected’ colors such as various shades of pink, orange, brown, yellow and blue. A chromatic color scheme can help generate enthusiasm and keep employees feeling sharp and refreshed. On the other end of the spectrum, you may choose to aim for a slightly milder and more uniform cross-section of colors if your goal is to help employees find a moment to relax away from the pressures of their job. A tasteful and thoughtful color choice is a unique element of fun office decor which should never be overlooked.
A few practical options to consider for adding color to your break room range from minor painting projects to colored lighting or brightly colored furniture pieces. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to this type of decoration, which is why you probably can still make a powerful impact with only a few small changes.
See our post on Color Psychology in the Workplace 🎨
A Question of Technology
You may discover that some of your most effective design ideas come from studying the actual work habits of your employees or colleagues. The goal of your break room is to create an environment that feels like a departure from the normal office “routine”. If your employees are constantly surrounded by screens during their work, creating a “tech-free” environment in your office coffee station may be a welcome reprieve. With that in mind, you may consider crafting an ambiance which acts as the complete opposite of the type of work employees are engaged in.
As an example, consider the following. Imagine that you are responsible for decorating the break room at a Silicon Valley tech company. Upon entering the workplace, you notice that employees are all but swallowed by monitors, keyboards and an assortment of complex hardware. Instead of supporting this image with flat-screen TVs and other break room technology, you could strive to create a small natural oasis, filled with potted plants, nature-themed wall art and gentle lighting.
Creative and cool break room ideas such as these will obviously be dependent on the preferences of employees and your budget. That being said, you may be surprised at just how inexpensive natural decoration ideas such as these can be.
Encourage Feedback at All Times
Ultimately, your break room should reflect the employees who will be using it. As we discussed in our recent postabout decorating in public schools, people love to feel that they can contribute their own creative ideas and talents to decorative projects. With that in mind, your design choices should be informed as much by their opinions and preferences as your own particular tastes.
As a general rule, always defer to your colleagues or employees when you’re doubting your own choices. It’s guaranteed someone will have a strong opinion when it comes to office break room organization and other fun office decor. Keeping your decisions in touch with the stylistic preferences of those working around you will ensure that your decoration project is an absolute success. Best of luck with your upcoming design project and remember to enjoy the process!
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