The power of the pause area – what is it?
A pause area is much more than just a spot to have a quick cuppa and a bite to eat. The days of the tiny kitchenette tucked around the corner are long gone as forward-thinking companies realise the importance of downtime for their employees.
The pause area is now a space that is an extension of a company, but has a totally different ambience to the general working environment. It is a space where employees can take a break and more importantly, break away from their work routine.
Pause areas should be as spacious as possible to suit different purposes. It should be able to accommodate small groups of employees who want to have an informal meeting, employees who are looking for some quiet time and those who just want a break over lunch.
Aim to boost productivity:
The concept of aiming to boost productivity might seem to conflict with creating an area where employees are supposed to be taking a break, but it doesn’t.
The working environment has become just as fast-paced as life outside of work, and many people are left fatigued and stressed by constant noise, information overload and perpetual deadlines. All of these, of course, are what make up a normal working environment, and that is where the pause area comes in.
Just like a power nap has been proven to improve concentration and productivity and also offer great health benefits, so the pause area allows employees to recharge, even if they have only a few minutes to do so. Allowing the mind to relax or even switch off for short periods boosts productivity and improves general health.
But no one can switch off in a space that looks and feels just the same as the rest of the working environment, so planning the pause area is key if you are going to achieve your aim.
Do the opposite of what you already have:
The pause area must have a totally different look and feel so that when employees step inside, they get the feeling that they are stepping out of work. Everything must be different, from furniture design to colours.
Think of your corporate colours, then go totally the opposite; think of your office furniture design, then go totally the opposite. Put a TV on one side so that those who want to can stay up to date with current news events, but also allow quiet spaces for those who are looking for a peaceful break.
A variety of seating options also helps to cater for and encourage a variety of different activities. Include a mix of soft seating like couches and armchairs for a more relaxed feel as well as more functional furniture like restaurant-style chairs and tables for eating and meetings.
Depending on the size of the company, a notice board that employees can use for their own, as well as business notices, is also a great idea, because it encourages direct communication between employees and it allows for more informal communication within the office environment.
And don’t discount fun activities like X-Box, foosball, pool or table tennis if space allows. These are great brainstorming tools and allow staff to unwind and engage in some healthy competition.
Don’t forget colour psychology:
Random splashes of bright colour are great mood enhancers, but don’t forget the walls and the flooring. It depends very much on the type of work employees do; if the working environment is stressful, you want a place of calm, if the working environment is creative, you want to improve creativity and so on…
Colour psychology is based on the mental and emotional effects that colours have on people. It’s known that surroundings do influence peoples’ emotions and state of mind, so bringing the right wall and floor colours into the pause area is essential.
If you are looking for a peaceful and calming environment, consider using green and blue. These cool colours are typically considered restful. If you want to keep the creative energies flowing or revive flagging creatives, go for purple. Purple uses both red and blue to provide a balance between stimulation and serenity that encourages creativity.
Most importantly, you need to remember that the pause area belongs to your employees and must focus on meeting their needs. Get your employees involved in the design and ask for suggestions from the get-go to ensure they enjoy their space!
All Office has over 30 years’ experience specialising in bespoke office designs; speak to a consultant today about creating a powerful pause area for your employees.