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5 Steps For Creating The Ideal Break Room For Your Employees

by Morgan Sims

A company’s break room is the social and cultural epicenter of the building. All too often these break rooms don’t offer much beyond a place to warm up last night’s leftovers and keep your sandwich cold until it’s time to eat it. With the increasing opportunities to communicate digitally, the chances to speak with coworkers face to face are dwindling.

Here are a few ways to create the ideal break room for employees and encourage real interaction.

1. Choose a Central Location That’s Large Enough for Groups.

The location of the break room should be in an area that’s central to all areas of the building. Employees shouldn’t have to trek all the way across the complex to get a bite to eat and rewind for their breaks. By making an effort to accommodate all employees this way, you’ll show that you value their time and want their breaks to be enjoyable and relaxing. Spaces that are too small for groups of employees to eat and relax together defeat the purpose of an employee break room. Give them enough space to talk among themselves. Office morale will improve, and there will be less likelihood that they’ll get off-track by talking when they should be working. A major trend in office settings is that employees tend to work through their lunch breaks and choose to eat at their desks. A single, central location encourages employees to use their breaks for what they were designated for: to relax, unwind, and rest their minds and bodies before finishing the day.

2. Stock the Shelves.

While there are certainly budgetary issues to consider when it comes to stocking employee break rooms, providing several beverage options could very well amount to be money well spent. Sure, coffee and tea are mainstays of most corporate break rooms, but other refreshments will be appreciated as well. Powdered drink mix packets, canisters of sugar and sweetener, along with cups, plates, and utensils will go a long way toward making the space more inviting to employees. If it’s relevant to your office’s culture, you could coordinate a rotating schedule for employees to bring refreshments to share with each other to add variety to the break room. This also promotes camaraderie between coworkers, giving them the opportunity to socialize about recipes and preferences.

3. Personalize the Space.

Make your employee break room stand apart from the rest by allowing them to make it their own. Consider hanging a bulletin board so employees can post information about fundraisers and personal events. This space is also a good place to communicate about upcoming office social gatherings, such as potlucks or weekend picnics. Furthermore, hang photos of these events to personalize the space even more. Create an area that reflects the culture and values of your company. You might even include promotional itemslike mugs and other dishware with your company logo on them. These promotional products work well to enhance the company’s culture.

4. Restock Regularly.

Depending on how many employees you have, you might end up blowing through your break room supplies. Coffee and other refreshments are certainly items that’ll need to be restocked on a regular basis. You can cut restocking costs by ordering snacks, drink mixes, and disposable cutlery in bulk online or over the phone. Many companies even have a regular shipment option that’ll send a new stock of break room goodies on a regular basis so you don’t have to rely on one person in the office to monitor the supply level. Ordering online or over the phone will ease the burden of having to venture out to a store on company time to replenish the break room’s supplies. It’ll also eliminate that awkward week of being out of everything that ends up happening so often. They’ll ship directly to you, which reduces waste and improves the cost-to-benefit ratio for the company’s break room supplies.

5. Furnish it With Employees in Mind.

When it comes to working in a corporate office setting, it’s often the little things that make the most impact on our day. Sometimes these little things include the way the break room is furnished. When an employer makes an effort to furnish the break room in a way that specifically accommodates employees, it sends a message loud and clear that they value their staff. So consider polling your employees to see which furniture they would prefer, which brand of coffee is ideal, and what snacks they would appreciate. While you’re thinking about furnishings, carefully consider the paint color of the break room. A stark white room is reminiscent of a sterile hospital. Warm it up with inviting tones and artwork that complements it. Some companies choose colors from their corporate logo. That’s always an option, but those colors might not always be conducive to an inviting, relaxing atmosphere. Lighting can also have a huge impact on the atmosphere in the room. Consider choosing light fixtures that can be adjusted as you reevaluate the effectiveness of the break room — and also leave room for future redesigns. While we’re on the topic of furnishing your break room, here are a few things you’ll most certainly want to include:

  • Industrial-sized coffee maker with a steady supply of coffee
  • Full-sized microwave
  • Toaster oven
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Dishwasher (you’ll be glad to have this)
  • Adequate Storage
  • Dishes and Utensils
  • Refrigerator(s)
  • Snacks (vending machine or company supplied)
  • Paper towels and napkins

You’re setting up this break room as a service to your employees. Help them get the most out of it by consulting them on how to furnish it. There you have it. Five solid steps toward creating the perfect break room for your employees. Every company is different, as are every group of office employees. Keep that in mind as you set out to furnish your break room. The idea is to ultimately provide a space for employees to relax and enjoy spending time together while refueling for their day. A well-organized and furnished break room will be well worth the effort and expense, as it’ll improve office morale, which should help boost productivity as well.


Morgan Sims is a writer and graduate of the University of South Florida who loves all things tech and social media. She has been involved with two startups that had their fair share of struggles, and taught her a lot about what not to do.

This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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  • Richard Blank

    Pura vida.

    We have invested in an employee game room at CCC. I wanted to share with all business owners and happy employees what can be done in an office environment to raise morale:

    Telemarketers and customer service agents may burn out after a period of time. That is a fact. CCC has dropped the standard attrition rate dramatically. In addition, the attendance rate has remained at a relative high for industry call center standards just from the implementation of the game room.
    Let off steam in a call center video game room. “All you can play” arcade machines for CCC Costa Rican call center employees.
    Our rigorous bilingual telemarketing structure requires the same amount of down time focus for the agents in order to recharge the mind and body. The call center solution for a strong push on the phones is to incorporate a real retro arcade in Central America.
    CCC is known in Costa Rica as offering the best employee arcade.
    The international outsourcing industry has the best game room in Costa Rica.
    Without question, CCC has the best gaming toys in a Latin American outsourced Telemarketing Company.
    The proud owner of CCC, Richard Blank, firmly believes that the more an agent stays away from their virtual cell phone world; the more they will increase their interpersonal relationship building among other BPO employees.
    Since 2007, our highly educated call center agents continue to grow as one unit by incorporating many challenging video games during scheduled breaks and lunch time.
    CCC took a chance when most call centers do not utilize a common medium of arcade gaming.
    The Costa Rican millennial generation that grew up playing video games at home did not share the same pleasure and stimulation as the early retro gamers that had an arcade on every corner and local mall in the United States.
    CCC Human Resources Department was intent on a positive learning experience by combining fast momentum and a creative mind. Proving a solid ROI on a large internal expense for employee retro gaming recreation, the telemarketing staff has enjoyed a spike in morale, increased online labor support and a flattering local reputation in Costa Rica as a great call center environment run by generous owners.
    Back in the 1980s, anyone in Costa Rica who wanted to play the real video games was on a mission to find an arcade. Once you placed your 100 colones on the game marquee to hold your place, it didn’t get any better when you had the chance to show your skills in front of dozen kids from San Jose. Each Tico was shooting for the high score on Asteroids or Pac Man and loved every minute of it. CCC wants to bring that excitement back into a call center environment and use it to grow past our 440 agent limit at our current location on Paseo Colon.
    Today, CCC firmly stands behind having our call center employees experience the authentic arcade sounds, sights and real time retro competition.
    Our new video arcade room has given CCC another strong gust of wind in our sails. Costa Rica’s Call Center will continue to reward our amazing staff by a pace of 1 new arcade machine per 44 new telemarketing agents hired and hitting their monthly quota.
    The employee friendly call center environment became more pleasurable immediately which can offset a demanding telemarketing career. Any BPO boss could only imagine and wish for laughter, smiles, spirited jokes and high energy at their Costa Rican office on a Monday morning before shift.
    The reality today is that CCC has become the only call center to have gifted their entire staff a video arcade game room to have fun, period. All agents are given the option to arrive early to play the games or they may choose to stay inside and enjoy the machines during the evening while waiting for their ride to safely take them home.
    A smart motivational technique used for CCC BPO agents is to compete on the machines in the game room.
    One way in which a telemarketer’s confidence could be made stronger or broken down is through an arcade experience during their work day. Costa Ricans have courage and can back up their swagger on the phone after dominating the video games during their scheduled breaks.
    In the competitive offshore outsourcing call center arena, CCC has an advantage over the rest in Costa Rica by creating a strategic play environment.
    High end arcade video games will reinforce a call center agent’s focus, mind set to win and motor skills while off of the phones during their free time. The most important virtue is to show a solid habit of good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome of the games in the arcade.
    More new friendships have blossomed in the game room at CCC call center Costa Rica.
    Our entire staff has concluded that an immediate visual stimulation combined with a conditioned manual stimulation in gaming added a very special ingredient to our nuance at CCC. To date, Costa Rica’s Call Center is the only BPO in Central America with a retro arcade game room, period.
    The average age of our Costa Rican call center agents correspond with the virtual gaming boom. Every CCC agent that grew up mastering Nintendo has amazing skills and a strategic thought process.
    Combining a bilingual telemarketer’s gaming experience to help motivate, focus and relax the work place mind set is priceless and makes perfect sense for any outsourcing company.
    Everyone in Costa Rica that works at a call center possesses certain cognitive attributes to win an arcade game. Naturally, the CCC staff will harness and transfer that energy and high confidence to a telemarketing floor after a hot streak in the game room.
    The new generation of online gamers has stated that they prefer the feel of an authentic arcade game machine setup: joystick, eye level monitor and properly spaced buttons. CCC wants to bring back the real unique arcade game experience to Costa Rica for all telemarketers verses a hand held controller game that is found on any standard flat screen TV in San Jose.
    All video arcade games at CCC are free.
    Many people in the outsourcing call center industry will question the distraction ratio, loss production or adverse effects towards an arcade game room. Well, the risk of an arcade game room was definitely worth the reward to CCC. The most common reaction from the agents is that they are “letting off steam”. CCC telemarketers are able to function better by structuring their break times around a more productive activity than checking their email, text messaging or having a cigarette.
    CCC personally challenges all business owners to incorporate a video arcade within their establishment and not to charge a cent.
    It is obvious that we take care of our employee’s well mental state while bonding through other mediums besides long meetings or just traditional work place activities that produce average telemarketing results.
    Just like on a golf course, we are able to use a game room during a conversation, find alternate ways to focus and share BPO ideas than spending time in a board room with a projection screen.
    Bottom line, make our meetings productive in multiple ways when communicating with today’s new work place demographic in call centers.
    Recess play has been lost in memories of youth and days long gone. Not at CCC. We ensure that everyone knows how to enjoy their time and has fun at least once a day at our call center.
    Telemarketing and video games do have something in common regarding performance and success.
    A professional telemarketer’s natural ability to become in sync with their rhythm, pace, concentration, decision making and a positive attitude emerge stronger through video games. BPO agents return to the phones in motion after going into the arcade during their break.
    Our call center in Costa Rica has a solution to chain smoking telemarketers. The BPO agents are smoking less at Costa Rica’s Call Center. Does this industry create stress? Yes it does. Yet, many forgo a smoke break to spend 15 minutes playing the video games to relax and increase their health. The average call center agent will smoke a minimum of 4 fewer cigarettes a day via our game room.
    CCC promotes the best environment as to find a healthy alternate than chain smoking outside in between calling sessions. We have noted that once a professional telemarketer from Costa Rica leaves the game room, they feel recharged. From a scent perspective, they do not emit an odor of tobacco that carries on the calling floor.
    Free play for all CCC agents, period. The games are a gift to all of the hard working telemarketers in Costa Rica. Some companies charge their employees to play their games. Our call center staff has earned their retro arcade game room which is now famous for being the best in Costa Rica.
    We have the space for the arcade and plenty of electricity to entertain over 100 telemarketing agents during their free time. The recreational advantage at our call center speaks volumes and has yet to be matched in Costa Rica let alone Central America. Once the word spread, the private arcade was packed since day 1 with our amazing staff having a great time.
    The arcade boom of the 1980s was represented by a quarter that would reserve your spot. At CCC, we work on an honor system and it shows since everyone is given a turn to play. Naturally, some gamers last longer than others and show an old playground dominance mentality on the arcade machines which appears to be respected in Costa Rica.
    There may be a queue on our predictive dialer, but there is never a long wait to start playing arcade games at CCC COSTA RICA.


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