Collector - February 2018 - 10
Give Me a Break
Four tips to help you create a welcoming lounge space for employees.
By Anne Rosso May
re you looking for ways to show
your employees they are valued?
While bonuses and award
programs may get all the glory, it might
be time to take a closer look at an oftenoverlooked space: your break room.
Studies have shown that regular
work breaks increase productivity and
motivation, but you probably don't need a
study to tell you that a welcoming space for
office potlucks, treats and informal chitchat
will lighten everyone's mood. Here are a few
ideas to help you reinvent your break room.
Palm said her company's goal in
designing both break rooms was to foster
inclusion and engagement.
"You have to offer something for all
generations," she said. "Right now we have
four generations in the workplace, and we
want them all to feel that the break room
offers something for them."
At Williams & Fudge that means arcadestyle video games and pinball machines
coexist with produce deliveries from
organic farms and a putting green out the
LISTEN TO YOUR STAFF
CONSIDER HOW YOU
WILL USE THE SPACE
Here's what's out for 2018: break rooms that
boast drab, bare walls and lumpy, castaway
couches. Here's what's in: asking employees
what they want in a lounge space.
When Professional Finance Company
Inc. executives decided to reinvigorate
their corporate break room last year, they
solicited opinions from staff. "We wanted
to involve employees in the process who
wouldn't normally have decision-making
authority," said HR Director Jill Scott.
Based on staff input, for instance,
Professional Finance Company's new break
room got cable TV and free Wi-Fi.
Williams & Fudge Inc. provides its 370
employees with two lounge spaces: The
Junction, for the bulk of the company's
staff, and the VIP Room, a space reserved
for its top 25 collectors, a list that changes
each quarter. The VIP Room is stocked with
free food and (nonalcoholic) drinks, plus a
lounge area and TVs.
"Someone from HR stocks it every
morning before employees arrive," said Tricia
Palm, vice president of human resources.
"The VIP employees tell us what they like
and we cater to that. If during one quarter
people want Slim Jims in there, we'll go out
and buy Slim Jims. It's always changing."
Unless you have a separate cafeteria, you'll
want to make sure there is plenty of space
for employees to sit down and eat their
lunch or a quick snack. Small, high-top
tables as well as longer farmhouse-style
tables give employees a variety of options
and ultimately make the space more
Lounge seating options promote
relaxation and casual conversation.
"In our break room, we have recliner
chairs-they are almost gaming chairs-
that lean back, as well as a massage chair,
which is so popular there is sometimes a
line for it," said Cortney Fleming, director
of recruiting and professional development
for Wilber & Associates, P.C. "People sit
upright at desks all day, and these chairs are
a way to relieve any tensions."
If you have a policy banning cell phones
from the collection floor, you might
consider installing lockers and charging
stations for mobile devices in your break
In addition to functioning as a place for
employees to recharge and grab a bite to
eat during the workday, the main employee
lounge at Williams & Fudge is used for
a variety of other purposes, including
networking events, monthly birthday
breakfasts and staff meetings.
"At the meetings people will lay down
on couches and get comfortable-it's pretty
casual," Palm said.
KeyBridge Medical Revenue Care's break
room also gives employees an opportunity to
be casual-asleep, even. The lounge features
two Steelcase Brody pods, which are private,
self-contained spaces designed for employees
seeking solitude. They have adjustable chairs,
a footstool so you can prop up your feet and
a wraparound privacy screen.
"Some of our employees are college
students and they use the pods to do their
homework, but other people use them to
read, make a phone call, crochet or even
take a nap," said Krystyen Denig, human
THE WAY TO EMPLOYEES' HEARTS
IS THROUGH THEIR STOMACHS
Micromarkets are a new trend in corporate
break rooms, replacing the limited
offerings from vending machines. These
self-checkout kiosks operate like tiny
convenience stores, but they offer a wider
selection of lunch and snack options, such
as fruit, hard-boiled eggs and salads.
Employees grab the food they want
and step up to the kiosk to pay-options
range from cash and credit cards to payroll