Office Breakout Space: 7 Top Design Tips & Considerations

Office breakout areas. Top tips for Break Out areas 

Office break out areas are about so much more than those ‘water cooler’ moments or a place to quickly eat your sandwiches.

In fact, well designed breakout spaces can aid productivity, creativity and also be beneficial to employees well-being.

Really? Well yes… how many times have you had your best ideas when you were walking the dog or taking a shower?

Simply put, when you’re more relaxed and the pressure is off, you think more clearly and can be at your most creative!

Encourages clear thinking and creativity

Therefore, having a breakout area available for your employees that is separate from their usual working space makes sense on many levels and in forward thinking organisations a breakout space is now regarded as one of the most important considerations in modern office design – after all, who doesn’t want their employees to be relaxed and productive?

Reduces stress, increases productivity

What’s more, a breakout area in your office fit out will not only encourage impromptu meetings, incite inspiration, support corporate values and reduce stress, but it will also give your employees a space to take a break from a computer screen, so you’ll be complying with the Health & Safety law that requires staff take frequent breaks.

. . .  Just think of all the boxes you will be ticking! 

Breakout top tips

We’ve put together some top tips and key considerations below to help you when you start designing and creating your own breakout area.

1. What’s your breakout space for?

Breakout spaces are sometimes used to showcase the fun side of your company, but your focus should be how you are going to integrate this space into your office design and exactly what you want to achieve from your breakout area.

  • Do you just want somewhere that your staff can take time away from their desk, maybe to take a break, have a cuppa or a chat?
  • Or does your workforce need some quiet working to make a call in a little privacy?
  • Alternatively, maybe just somewhere practical for hot desking.
  • Perhaps you need a space to hold brainstorming sessions and informal meetings.

Every office has different needs, so once you have decided on what you need; these are the key things to think about when planning your design.

2. What’s the best location for my breakout space?

It doesn’t need to take up a huge area, especially if a separate room isn’t available in your work space.

Try to make sure it is away from the regular buzz of the office. This is an important consideration, especially bearing in mind that a breakout area can also double as an informal meeting area, so you may need a bit of peace.

A good location could be close to your kitchen, so your employees can make a cuppa if they need somewhere to chill out.

3. Layout

If a separate room is not available to you, partitioning works really well to section off part of your open plan office using a screening system or seating layout.

Collaborative cubicles – this is a type of low-partition cubical that can seat two, three or a large group and separate your employees from each other while allowing your team to make eye contact, converse and collaborate on problem solving.

Innovative furniture designs such as High Back Seating Booths can create natural screening and privacy.

A Demountable Partition or Folding Wall will allow you to create a moveable space

Consider investing in some comfortable seating options; the ideal office breakout area furniture design should be able to combine comfort and functionality at the same time.

4. Into the light

Keeping your breakout space well lit is essential, especially if there isn’t any natural light from a window close by.

Using ergonomic ighting can help prevent Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).  This condition creates symptoms of blurred vision, headaches, neck pain and itchy eyes – we can all relate with this during our working day!

Ergonomic lighting is often overlooked in break out spaces where harsh fluorescent lighting is already installed.  Consider taking out a row or two of lamps to take the brightness down a notch or, if the area is dimly lit, add supplemental table lighting to increase the brightness.

Lights with more yellow tones are easier on the eyes and tend to be more psychologically pleasing and free of that annoying buzz of a fluorescent light.

5. Office Art

Including artwork has been linked to increased productivity, stimulating creativity and inspirational processes.  It also has the ability to reduce stress and improve wellbeing because of its relaxing and contemplative nature.

From wall graphics and photographs to sculptures and living walls, you will be able to find something to meet the mood you are trying to create.

Art can also incorporate your branding into your breakout space and help you tell the story of exactly who you are and what you do.

6. Writeable Walls

A Writeable wall is created by applying a coat of erasable paint to create a ‘whiteboard’, which, incidentally, doesn’t have to be white and available in lots of different colours!

It can be used on walls or partition boards, even doors so, whether you’re employees need a quiet moment to think or they’re collaborating with colleagues and need to record their eureka moments, this is a feature that is easy to add to inspire creativity in your breakout space.

7. Styling

This vital communal space can be as multifaceted as required.  From simple and modest to large and very interactive, your choice of style will symbolise how the breakout space is used.

Simple and modest

A simple design that can be used for socialising, dining and informal working:

  • Consider a long wooden table for somewhere to eat lunch with a wooden bench on one side of the table
  • Use classic wooden chairs to complement your table that can be easily moved – depending on how the space is being used
  • You can choose from lots of different simple seating options for ‘huddle areas’
  • Utilise different heights and styles of tables – maybe even a ping-pong table to encourage some relaxation?

Practical and colourful

If you want to create a focal point, where people can connect.

  • A range of modular furniture which is ideal for multiple and easily reconfigurable settings – fitting for informal working and meetings.
  • Modular seating can be combined to create a whole host of different seating combinations from cube seating to high backed work booths
  • High back options help with privacy so you can create separate booth zones within the space
  • Breakout cubes with flat backrests can be combined to create any number of configurations including left and right hand corner units.

Classical Chic

For something with more of a sophisticated edge:

  • Very classical and elegant sofas and comfortable chairs will not only function as an informal breakout space, but also double up as an event or entertainment area for customers and clients.
  • Arrange into small groups around the area and add stylish curved armchairs.
  • Why not combine different colours, to create a vibrant an energetic atmosphere?
  • Colours can also be used to reflect your company’s corporate branding.

Amazing benefits of creating an office breakout space

In case you need any more convincing, commercial and office break out spaces provide some amazing benefits including:

  • Helps you to look after the overall wellbeing of your employees
  • Offers the opportunity for a change of scenery; a place to switch off, which can reduce stress, increase creativity and enhance productivity
  • Provides a space for interaction and collaboration which are important for promoting strong workplace relationships
  • Creates an additional workspace; sitting in the same chair at the same desk day in, day out is not very inspiring. Breaking away is good for injecting a bit of creativity and inspiration.
  • Promotes movement in the office – according to a recent shock survey, desk jobs double the risk of premature death ( so a breakout area encourages employees to move around the office rather than sit in one place for hours on end.
  • A space free of distraction from phones constantly ringing, loud office conversations or a noisy printer! Working in an open plan office can be very distracting; a breakout space provides a more peaceful area for better employee satisfaction and happiness.
  • Providing a breakout space is a thoughtful way of attracting new talent and retaining staff and something that the modern worker will expect to find in their place of work.

Looking for more inspiration?

Whether you have a small or larger space available, the Source One interiors team are experts in creating practical and inspiring break out areas. With our Free CAD design and space planning service we can help you create the best layout and refine the design prior to us bringing it all to life.

If you are looking for some more office interior inspiration then take a closer look at some of our recently completed projects in the Source One showcase»

Experts in office interiorsContact Source One Consulting

Source One Consulting are East Anglia’s leading office interior specialists, working with businesses of all sizes across the UK.

Our team includes experts in all aspects of office fit out & refurbishments.

Contact us on 08456 031 585 to find out more.

One comment

  • Source One

    According to David D’Souza, member director at human resources trade body the CIPD “firms should do as much as possible to encourage people to eat away from their desks. The driver is not about annoying your colleagues, it’s about staff wellbeing. It’s hugely important for people and therefore an organisation’s productivity to have a chance to reset mentally; to make sure you’re thinking clearly and not making decisions while tired.”

    Read full article here:

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