Published 17 January 2018 Category: Coworking Spaces, Breakout Areas, Business, Entrepreneurs

Modernising Breakout Areas

It's no secret that a well-maintained and modern breakout area can help keep employees happy and productive. The breakout area is a haven for employees to blow off steam, eat a snack and chat with co-workers. According to Psychology Today, workplace socialising can increase overall productivity by 10 to 15 percent.

Having a place for workers to convene and be comfortable is a great way to foster that engagement.
Breakout areas have come a long way from the simple water cooler and old coffee maker. New technology and appliances can make the breakout area a much more desirable environment to hang out in.

Coffee machines
Coffee makers are a must for any office. However, traditional filtering coffee pots aren't fast and need to be regularly cleaned. Single-serve coffee dispensers like the Keurig are quick and keep the workday flowing without interruption from waiting at the coffee maker. Espresso and cappuccino machines will add even more zip to employees who only need to press a button for caffeine.

Micromarkets
Rather than vending machines containing the usual junk food, micromarkets offer a wide variety of food and drinks from a self-service, convenience store-style display. Employees just grab their items, scan them on the console, and pay with cash or card. Easy as that.

Most of these services come equipped with a visible security camera system to discourage thievery. On systems like 32Market, users can create accounts to deposit money into. To up the convenience, a biometric scanner can record their thumbprints, which they can use for lightning-quick checkout.

The variety and amount of food and drinks in your micromarket may depend on where you're located, but many systems partner with local providers to supply fresh snacks like sandwiches and salads. Many companies try to help with health and weight loss goals for their employees and a micromarket in your breakout area can be customised to ditch the junk food and provide only healthy choices. For employees with diverse diets, you can be sure to stock your micromarket with foods that are organic, vegan, gluten-free plus a whole host of other options.

Signage
Enhance your breakout area’s atmosphere and give it a modern feel with digital signage. The breakout zone can be a place to be informed, so a bulletin board can come in handy. A digital display that can broadcast several messages, announcements or amusing posts will impress employees and businesses.

Event updates like the office party or fun events can be cycled through, and live announcements can be added without interruption. As it's an office bulletin board, it could be helpful to allow employees to submit suggestions or personal announcements such as items for sale or shoutouts.

The Internet of things & Breakout Areas
Some exciting developments will further modernise the breakout area and automate its management. The internet of things (IoT) uses sensors and actuators to collect data and perform certain actions. The idea is to connect objects and machines that aren't normally connected to a network. IoT can come in handy for tracking resources like electricity and water. Actuators can be programmed to shut off lights, control the temperature and perform other functions.

The sensors are becoming so advanced, they can detect just about anything using sound and vibrations. Carnegie Mellon University developed a sensor that can detect how many sheets of paper towels have been torn and can be programmed to automatically order more when the supply is low. It can detect if the refrigerator has been left open or the water faucet was left on and alert someone.

Using emerging IoT technology can help make sure your staff isn't being wasteful in the break room and that supplies are being efficiently managed.

New technology can make your breakout area the destination for employees to feel comfortable and socialise. A comfortable atmosphere with caffeine and snacks conveniently available will likely make for more happy workers.