Let’s face it, office workers have had to adapt to a new way of working overnight and have done for well over a year now. A lot of our teams have had to find and make space in their homes to create the best possible office setup. In some cases, not only for themselves, but for their children too, so they could continue their schooling routine.

But now, for a lot of workers, it is time to start making that transition of heading back into the office and leaving the home setup. For a few days a week at least!

For many, going back to the office will be daunting and employees will have to adjust to the noise around them again, so it’s important for businesses to look at ways to combat this and get everyone into a more ‘normal’ routine and the answer is breakout areas! Breakout areas are a great solution to helping employees feel more at ease heading back into the office.

The office interior experts at Meridian Interiors have created a checklist of the types of office breakout areas you may wish to create when planning on how to best optimise your office area to suit the needs of your employees.

The office breakout area checklist:

  • A tea-point or kitchen facility – great for all employees
  • Functional seating with table – for either eating or meetings
  • Relaxed seating – for less informative meetings or to just take a break
  • One to one booths – great for private meetings
  • Quiet working areas – for those who want to get their heads down
  • Social areas – great for lunch times so employees can recharge
  • Games / chillout space – great lunch activities for bonding and company culture development

The main things to include in your breakout areas

When designing the office breakout space, it’s important to build an area that caters to everyone’s needs and that it works within the existing office space. You also need to think about the number of employees and the space available.

The developments in acoustic screening and pods means a huge space isn’t a necessity, which is useful if you are an SME employer. The good thing about acoustic furniture is you can create small breakout areas around your office using pods, booths or acoustic chairs which can shut out the background noise.

To ensure you get the most out of your breakout spaces, speak to your employees who are going to be spending time in them first, to find out what it is they would like from a breakout area.

Elements to consider when designing your breakout spaces

We have highlighted a few things that you can consider using or creating to make the most out of your office space.

  1. Glass partitioning – great for dividing up rooms and separating off areas to make the most out of a small area.
  2. Company branding – bring out the colour of the branding within your colour choices of furniture. Go wild, have fun with it!
  3. Recharge rooms – great for employees who need to take a break from their busy day, recharge and gather their thoughts.
  4. Lounge areas – a fantastic idea if you have a lot of employees who are always fighting for space to eat their lunch. A place they can switch off for a while and bond.
  5. Pods – perfect for the smaller offices. These pods create a quiet place for people to work privately or have a meeting with another colleague.

Creating these breakout areas can work wonders for employees and give them peace of mind that they can go somewhere quiet to work or relax when they need a break from looking at the screen or to have private conversations in a confidential environment.

If you’re looking for more office interior inspiration, advice or guidance, Meridian Interiors has a host of guides on its website here: https://www.meridian-interiors.co.uk/

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.