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The Importance of an Office Breakout Space

How important is it to have an Office Breakout Space? Many of us are accustomed to the idea of the office being a stuffy, corporate environment with micro-managers watching over our every move. Many offices are still inhabited by mostly sedentary job roles behind a computer screen, with little opportunity to move about, or rather, nowhere to move to. Not only does this sound uncomfortable, but it is also violating standard health and safety regulations. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) points out the requirements set out in Regulation 4 of the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992.

In the words of the guidance provided for this regulation, “in most tasks, natural breaks or pauses occur as a consequence of the inherent organisation of the work. Whenever possible, jobs at display screens should be designed to consist of a mix of screen-based and non-screen-based work to prevent fatigue and to vary visual and mental demands.”

Responsible organisations are ones that comply with regulations and care for the well-being of their staff. With this in mind, introducing breakout spaces where isn’t one or optimising where there is, is vital for employee health and safety.

But what is an office breakout space, anyway?

A ‘breakout space’ is an area for staff and guests to relax, eat lunch, or even hold casual meetings. Provided it is separate from your usual workspace, you can turn any area into a breakout space.

Its main purpose is to give employees choice, allowing them to break away from their routine; whether that be from sat behind a computer screen or any given task.

The more relaxed nature of breakout spaces, it lends itself to a more effortless aesthetic, with softer furnishings like tub chairs and sofas.

When designing your own space, you may also like to add a central table, and perhaps some multipurpose chairs to your breakout space to facilitate work-related discussions. After all, it is common for people to have their ‘eureka’ moments when they are trying to relax!

 

Don’t underestimate what a breakout space can do for employee well-being.

It’s easy for managers at smaller companies, in particular, to regard an office break out area as a luxury they can’t afford. But in truth, it may be the absence of a break out space on their premises that proves to be the unaffordable luxury.

We mustn’t forget that workplace stress is a genuine problem, with real consequences. Statistics cited by HSE show that almost 600,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18, with these conditions causing 15.4 million working days to be lost.

Furthermore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the global economy is hit to the tune of an estimated $1 trillion per year in lost productivity due to depression and anxiety.

It begs the question, how much time and productivity is your company losing due to your refusal to embrace office breakout spaces?  Something as simple as that could be so instrumental in giving your workers somewhere to escape their worries for a few minutes and improve their happiness and well-being.

Get in touch with the Maris team today, and together, with our workplace designers, we can create the perfect breakout space for your office.