The open plan office sparks a lot of debate and in our opinion is a concept that is here to stay. At the same time, workers are wanting additional casual, social areas designed with care and creativity in mind. Outdated conference rooms are being replaced by huddle rooms, games areas and cleverly furnished pods.
With dedicated breakout areas, employees can ‘break out’ from the main office area to host casual meetings, take some time out to play a game, or slip into a quiet space for a few minutes to clear their head from office noise.
What is a Breakout Area?
A breakout area is a dedicated workspace open to employees and visitors that is separate from their usual working area and can be a place to relax, eat, collaborate and hold informal meetings.
Breakout areas aren’t anything new, but they can often be deemed unnecessary by some companies. There are many benefits to an office breakout area and how it can impact on a company’s performance, particularly when designed with productivity and collaboration in mind.
An office breakout area doesn’t have to break the bank or be overly extravagant, it can just simply be a few sofas in a quiet area of the office with a few of the right technologies.
Technology for Collaboration
Breakout areas are a great way to facilitate collaboration, especially for the more creative members of your team. Collaborative technologies are great for team building improving communication and creating more flexible and fun ways of working.
Introducing interactive displays into an office breakout area, is an enjoyable, active way of enhancing teamwork and collaboration. There are a whole host of products available which allow for multiple users to present their work to a group and interact from one screen, brainstorm ideas and share screens wirelessly. Working in this way helps to promote teamwork and encourage collaboration.
For those team members that are unable to come into the office, introducing a video conferencing set up is sure fire way to make them feel part of the team – improving collaboration, creativity and a sense of teamwork.
Technology for Productivity
Not all employee’s work best at a computer screen from nine till five, so companies should consider creating diverse areas for different personality types. While introverts may like a quiet, private space, extroverts thrive in loud and collaborative workspaces. Breakout areas can be dedicated to quiet, independent ways of working or, they can be designed with teamwork in mind.
Sound masking is an effective addition to your breakout area to enhance the privacy of the space, especially if your breakout area is in the middle of an open plan office. Sound masking can be broken down into zones, allowing certain areas of the office create an acoustic bubble for them to work in without any distractions.
Technology for Wellbeing
Choice and control around the workspace are important when it comes to wellbeing, Employees need somewhere they can either collaborate and meet with team members, hold small one-to-one meetings or concentrate on individual focus work. Biophilic design features are a great addition to create a more relaxed atmosphere, think about natural light, greenery and soundscapes.
Soundscapes with biophilia and wellbeing in mind, are a proven way to decrease stress in the workplace and enhance wellbeing. Research has shown that creating an immersive environment with soundscapes can increase employee’s motivation to work and ability to deal with stress better.
When soundscapes are integrated with digital signage, the benefits are twofold. When natural lighting and windows are always available, having digital displays in the breakout area and are great way of introducing nature and serene landscapes. Research shows that creating a multi-sensory biophilic environment can enhance its benefits. In one study, accompanying video content helped increase the restoration benefits of biophilic sound by 38%.