How to Design a Staff Breakout Area | Flow Office

How to design a staff breakout area for your office

Breakout areas are comfortable spaces where staff can relax away from their desks. It’s where they eat their lunch, chat with colleagues, and even hold informal meetings. It may even be where your clients wait before moving to the board room.

They’re much more than a handful of bean bags shoved in the corner. It’s a vital ingredient to developing a positive and conducive environment. If not designed properly, you face losing employees and your profit margin.

We’ve put together this guide to help you explore the breakout area world. By the end, you’ll be ready to jump out of your office seat, run across to that empty space in the corner, and start brainstorming ideas.

Here’s what to expect:

Friendly diverse team talking around a table sharing pizza in their office break room

Why Every Office Needs a Breakout Area

Having a breakout area in your office is more than just a trend; it’s a necessity. In today’s fast-paced work environment, employees need a space where they can take a breather, recharge their energy, and stimulate their creativity. Here are a few reasons why every office should have a breakout area:


Boosts Productivity

Taking regular breaks has been proven to enhance productivity. By providing a dedicated space for employees to unwind, you’re encouraging them to take short breaks throughout the day. This can lead to improved focus, increased motivation, and ultimately, better results.


Promotes Collaboration

Breakout areas create an informal setting where employees can interact and exchange ideas. It encourages cross-departmental communication and collaboration, fostering a sense of teamwork. When employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and bouncing ideas off each other, innovation thrives.


Reduces Stress

Work can be stressful, and prolonged periods of sitting at a desk can take a toll on mental and physical well-being. A breakout area offers employees a chance to step away from their workstations, stretch their legs, and clear their minds. This can help reduce stress levels and improve overall job satisfaction.


Attracts and Retains Talent

In today’s competitive job market, companies need to offer an attractive work environment to attract and retain top talent. Having a breakout area demonstrates that you value your employees’ well-being and work-life balance. It also keeps your current employees engaged and satisfied.


Remember: a breakout area doesn’t need to be extravagant or take up a large portion of your office space. Even a small designated corner with a few comfortable chairs can make a difference. Investing in a breakout area is an investment in your employees’ happiness, productivity, and overall success.

Sketch of an office break room


How to design an office breakout area for your staff

When it comes to creating a breakout area in the office, it’s important to focus on making it a welcoming and comfortable space for employees. This is where they can take a break from their work, relax, and recharge. 


Let’s go through each aspect of designing your staff rest area:


Design and Layout

Remember, the layout and furniture choices should align with your company’s culture and the needs of your employees. It’s important to create a space that fosters collaboration, productivity, and well-being. By considering these ideas, you can design a functional office breakout area that will benefit both your employees and your overall work environment.




Flexible Furniture

Provide a variety of seating options to accommodate different needs and preferences. Consider comfortable sofas, lounge chairs, bean bags, and even standing desks. This allows employees to choose a seating arrangement that suits their work style or relaxation needs.


Designate areas that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a table with chairs can be used for informal meetings, brainstorming sessions, or as a place to have lunch. This maximises the utility of the space and promotes versatility.


Collaborative Furniture

Include tables or desks that promote collaboration. These can be in the form of high tables with bar stools or shared workbenches with integrated power outlets. Such workstations encourage teamwork and idea-sharing among colleagues.


Privacy Pods

Sometimes, employees need a quiet space to focus or have private conversations. They may just need 5 minutes to themselves after a stressful meeting. Installing privacy booths provides the necessary seclusion. These can be soundproof rooms or even modular cubicles with acoustic panels, ensuring noise reduction and confidentiality.

Read more: Top 5 Benefits of Office Boots and Pods


Colour scheme

Use warm and inviting colours that promote relaxation, such as soft blues, greens, or earthy tones. It encourages your staff to take a breather before jumping back into the action.


Adequate Lighting

Good lighting is crucial for maintaining focus and energy levels. Maximise natural light by positioning the breakout area near windows or using skylights. Supplement with well-placed artificial lighting that is adjustable to create a cosy atmosphere.


Flexible layout

Provide enough space for people to move around comfortably. Consider using movable furniture, modular seating arrangements, and adjustable tables to encourage collaboration in different group sizes.

lightbox pool table in office

Amenities and Feature



Include a coffee machine, a water dispenser, and a small kitchenette with basic amenities like a fridge and microwave. These facilities will enable employees to grab a quick snack or a hot beverage without leaving the area. It also encourages regular breaks, fostering a positive work-life balance



Breakout areas should not just be about work. Incorporate recreational elements to encourage relaxation and rejuvenation. Consider adding features like a pool table, game consoles, or a mini-library. Such additions can help employees unwind and recharge during their breaks.

However, it’s important to strike a balance and ensure that the entertainment options don’t become distracting or disruptive to the overall work environment. Use different floors or rooms to create a separation.



Add some plants or a small indoor garden to bring a touch of nature into the breakout area. Plants not only enhance aesthetics but also contribute to a sense of calmness and well-being.


Charging Stations and Power Outlets

In our digital age, having ample charging stations and power outlets is essential. Employees often rely on their smartphones, laptops, and other devices throughout the day. Providing convenient access to power ensures that everyone can stay connected and powered up.


Interactive Displays and Smartboards

To encourage collaboration and creativity, incorporating interactive displays and smartboards can be a game-changer. These tools allow for brainstorming sessions, presentations, and virtual collaborations, making the breakout area a hub for innovation.

Atmosphere and Ambience



Noise levels significantly impact productivity. Ensure the area is well-insulated against noise to create a peaceful environment. Use sound-absorbing materials like carpets, curtains, or acoustic panels to create a more focused workplace.



Consider playing soft background music to add a soothing ambience. Opt for instrumental or genre-neutral tunes that won’t interfere with concentration or conversations.


Temperature control

Maintain a comfortable temperature through adequate heating or cooling systems. Consider individual control options to accommodate different preferences.


Creating a welcoming and comfortable breakout area involves thoughtful design, amenities that cater to employee needs, and attention to the atmosphere. By prioritising these aspects, you can provide a space that fosters relaxation and rejuvenation, ultimately enhancing employee well-being and productivity.

Employees sharing a hot drink whilst discussing ideas for their break room

How to maintain and refresh your Breakout Area

Creating a breakout area in your office is a great way to boost employee morale and productivity. However, maintaining and refreshing this space is equally crucial. Here are a few tips to help you keep your breakout area in top shape:


Regular Cleaning and Upkeep

  • Create a cleaning schedule to ensure that the breakout area is regularly tidied up. Assign someone or hire a cleaning service to clean the space daily or as needed.
  • Provide cleaning supplies such as disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and trash bins. Encourage employees to clean up after themselves to maintain a clean and inviting environment.


Furniture and Equipment Maintenance

  • Inspect the furniture regularly to identify any wear and tear. Repair or replace broken chairs, tables, or couches promptly to prevent accidents and maintain a comfortable seating area.
  • Check the functionality of electronic equipment like TVs, gaming consoles, or coffee machines. If any devices are not working properly, arrange for repairs or replacements.


Refreshing the Décor

  • Consider the changing seasons and update the breakout area accordingly. Add some plants or flowers during spring, or incorporate warm and cosy elements during winter.
  • Rotate artwork or decorations to keep the space visually interesting. Encourage employees to contribute their own artwork or personal touches to make the area unique and reflective of the team’s personality.


Employee Input and Feedback

  • Regularly seek feedback from employees on the breakout area. Ask for suggestions on improvements, new additions, or changes to the layout. This will help create a sense of ownership and ensure that the space remains functional and enjoyable for everyone.


A well-maintained and refreshed breakout area positively impacts employee well-being and productivity. By prioritising cleanliness, furniture maintenance, and engaging employees in the process, you create a vibrant and inviting space where your team recharges and collaborates.


Coworkers playing footsall and pool in their breakroom

Design a breakout area to boost productivity and wellbeing

Companies can foster a more positive and productive work environment by providing a dedicated space for relaxation and socialisation. 

It’s why a breakout area is a must. 

With just a small investment, employees and employers reap the ROI through culture, job satisfaction, and the bottom line.

Designing a breakout area is fun – but it requires experience and psychology to create an effective space. That’s where we can help.

We’re specialist office designers who help landlords, tenants, and property managers get the most out of their buildings. From full office designs to creating a breakout space for your staff, we’ll take care of every step.

If you want to improve productivity and employee satisfaction, let’s chat.

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