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Different Types of Break Rooms

Different Types of Break Rooms

Break rooms give employees a place to socialize and get away from their workspace for a little while. There are five basic types of break rooms that employers can offer. These types are not set in stone, so you can mix and match the combinations to design the best work space for your employees.

Kitchenette
The smallest type of break room takes the form of a kitchenette and is rarely an actual room. A kitchenette can consist of a coffee maker and microwave on a corner counter or table. Larger kitchenettes will have a sink, a few other pieces of cooking equipment and a refrigerator and may be in a separate corner of the office. One thing is true of all kitchenettes; they do not have tables or chairs, and they only offer some of the simplest of amenities for office workers.

Lunch Room
This is the most common type of break room and is found in offices, factories and many other businesses. Lunch rooms have tables and chairs and several pieces kitchen equipment, like a refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker and microwave, and are used primarily for employees to eat lunch or get away from their work station for a few minutes. Larger lunch rooms may also have vending machines.

Game Room
Not all break rooms need to be for eating. Some are specifically designed to give employees a place to play during their break. Internet and technology companies are famous for providing arcade games, game tables, video game consoles and even climbing walls, so office workers can totally forget about work for a while and enjoy a few holes of Golden Tee (the arcade game).

Reading/Nap Room
Oftentimes, workers will eat their lunch, then go to their cars and take a brief 20-30 minute cat-nap to recharge. In fact, a NASA study on pilots found that napping for 26 minutes can maintain or improve alertness by up to 34%.1 One of the most important features of a nap room is privacy, so you will want to hang a time sheet so workers can schedule their time in the room. The nap room should also have comfortable furniture, an alarm clock (to signify when the session is over) and a door with a lock.

Stretching/Exercise Room
In most offices, there are usually at least one or two people that want to exercise during their lunch break, whether it be walking or going to the gym to do a few sets on the weight machine. You do not need to provide a fully decked-out gym on site (though some large corporations do), but having a separate room with exercise balls, yoga mats, a treadmill and exercise bike will give your active employees a place to go when the weather is not conducive to walking or driving to a gym.

References
1 Rosenkind, M.R., et al, “Alertness Management: Strategic Naps in Operational Settings,” http://human-factors.arc.nasa.gov/zteam/fcp/pubs/jsr.art.html (accessed November 17, 2009).