The break area is an essential element in any office, as it combines the cosy atmosphere of home (the ‘first space’) with the productivity of the office (the ‘second space’). Although it was originally intended for freelancers, is now represents an essential part of many company philosophies.
Its importance is recognised by most businesses, regardless of their size and number of employees, because coffee breakes represent one of the many elements that increase well-being at work.
The benefits of an office coffee break
The coffee break is a time full of benefits, which can give a company a real competitive advantage. Here are four reasons to plan it carefully.
The informal setting of the coffee break area allows people to have a more casual approach, establishing new relationships between colleagues from different offices and strengthening the sense of belonging to the company.
The time spent chatting is not ‘wasted time’ but contributes to strengthening the corporate culture: it’s a team building moment that enhances trust and collaboration between members of a working group.
Often, when having a coffee break, one can meet colleagues from other departments with whom one lacks the opportunity for confrontation due to commitments, travel or busy schedules.
The few minutes spent in the break area allow a more direct and relaxed discussion, bypassing the formalities often required during a structured meeting.
It’s also possible to develop an aptitude for problem solving, reducing the time required for more complex projects.
According to a study conducted by Dr Pernille Strøbæk of the University of Copenhagen, taking a break during working hours, especially drinking coffee and chatting with colleagues, can increase productivity by up to 73%.
Caffeine intake is the primary factor, because it helps concentration and memory, reduces fatigue and increases responsiveness. All this translates into faster and more precise work.
Having a place to relax away from the desk is particularly helpful for one’s psychological well-being in the office. The smell of coffee, the possibility to chat with colleagues and the atmosphere of an environment away from one’s desk are factors that can improve people’s mood and limit stress.
The world of work is changing and has become less formal; alternative solutions to traditional office environments, including meeting rooms, are in demand.
While it’s important to offer alternative spaces such as huddle rooms or pods, work cafés are evolving and can become a unique and productive work environment that can meet countless needs, taking into account different habits and types of meetings.
Another aspect to consider when designing a break area is that it must be informal, functional and comfortable.
Would you like more information on designing the coffee area? We have written an in-depth study that you can find at the following link.