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How to Design the Perfect Workplace Recreation Room

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Office Screens UK



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13 Mins

How to Design the Perfect Workplace Recreation Room

Since the pandemic more and more businesses are implementing hybrid and flexible working, meaning that in many cases they can now expect fewer employees on-site at any one time. This is the perfect opportunity to make the most of the additional office space and create the perfect workplace recreation room. 

Why is taking a break at work so important?  

As far back as the 1980s, businesses wanted to understand how taking breaks during an office day affected their workforce. To discover whether breaks could boost productivity or reduce stress, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Ohio and Purdue University in Indiana created an artificial high-stress office environment and invited 20 participants to ‘work’ there for two days. For every 40 minutes that they worked, they were permitted to take a ‘microbreak’ (anything from a few seconds to a few minutes). What they discovered was that those employees who had taken slightly longer microbreaks maintained lower heart rates, suggesting that the break had calmed them down. Interestingly, at the end of the study, the work of those who took regular microbreaks required less correcting than that of workers who had remained at their desk all day. 

Other studies have confirmed that ‘microbreaks’ throughout the day can be hugely beneficial. Taking a break from your desk to make a cup of tea, pot a few balls on a pool table or even just walk around can all impact employee productivity, health and quality of life. Studies have shown that microbreaks can improve concentration, meaning that a few minutes set aside here and there throughout the day for short breaks in fact leads to increased productivity within a workforce. In addition, for jobs with either repetitive elements or roles which involve being seated at a desk all day, microbreaks have been proven to help workers avoid injury and discomfort. Furthermore, for staff who are struggling to engage with their jobs, taking a series of short microbreaks throughout the day can be fundamental in reversing their attitude; changing the way they see their jobs and leading to greater employee satisfaction. 

According to research by Inc. Magazine into the work lives of more than 200 office workers, about 25% admitted that they never leave their desk, except for lunch. However, the same survey found that both managers and frontline employees spoke about the importance of taking a break. In fact, 90% of bosses claimed to encourage their employees to take breaks, while 86% of employees reported that taking breaks made them more productive. So it’s clear from this data that what people say and what they do when it comes to taking down-time during the work day is very different.

So, how can we encourage employees to take breaks when necessary? It starts with a clear, written policy from a position of power. If managers are clear in contracts and in their day-to-day attitude that taking short breaks throughout the work day is not only permitted but actively encouraged, then employees are less likely to fear retribution for taking a few moments to breathe and regroup. If this policy is supported through the creation of an office recreation space, employees receive a clear message that taking a responsible break is, in fact, good for business.

What are office recreation rooms and what should I put in them?

Office recreation rooms are designated rooms within workplaces where employees can go to relax and unwind during the work day. These may be attached to or form part of a kitchen area, or they might be completely separate spaces. There are four key things you should consider when designing a recreation room:

  1. Space

Firstly, think about what space you have available for a recreation area. There’s no point planning to top Google’s efforts if all you have to work with is an empty corner of an office floor. Plot the exact dimensions of your empty room or proposed area so you know exactly what you’re working with; then you can choose appropriate furniture. Smaller rooms might work better with flexible solutions such as stackable tables and chairs, while larger spaces can handle permanent furnishings such as bench tables or booths. It’s all very well and good to want to put games such as pool tables in your recreation room, but if that’s the only thing there’s space for, you aren’t really serving the needs of your entire workforce.

  1. Purpose

Next, think about what you want to achieve in your recreation room. A good place to start is to ask the opinions of your employees. It’s all very well and good installing a top-spec yoga studio, but it won’t work as designed if the vast majority of your workforce don’t use it. Think about what kinds of spaces will work for the majority of your staff. Typically, comfortable seating areas, table seating areas, quiet zones and kitchen equipment all go down well, and play equipment such as pool or ping-pong tables, or even a ‘board game’ zone, can offer opportunities for workers to unwind.

TETRATAK™ Interlocking Acoustic Soundproofing Wall Tile Panels

TETRATAK™ Interlocking Acoustic Soundproofing Wall Tile Panels

FRONTIER® Curved Free Standing Part-Glazed Office Partitions

FRONTIER® Curved Free Standing Part-Glazed Office Partitions


  1. Practicality

If your office has nearly unlimited floor space in a giant warehouse setting, then you can skip this one. However, the truth is that most businesses have relatively limited office space, and they will reserve the majority of that for desks and meeting rooms. So a recreational space usually has to serve multiple purposes. It might be a kitchen/diner that also has an area of sectional comfortable seating. Or perhaps a large meeting room that can double up as a recreational space when not required. If all you have is one open floorplan, you may even decide that using screens and dividers to create smaller recreation pods in different areas is the best use of your space. 

  1. Style

When thinking about a style for your workplace recreation space, consider colour, prints and textures. If you’re working within a broader office floor then keeping the decor in tune with what you already have will promote a calm and relaxed vibe throughout the office space. However, if you’re working with an entirely new room then consider how the use of colour can affect the atmosphere. Warmer colours such as reds or oranges encourage excitement and stimulate creativity. Yellow is a joyful, playful hue; while greens and blues are ideal for relaxation and concentration. Texture can also play a key role. If you’re putting together a seating area, for example, using tactile fabrics promotes a feeling of cosiness and warmth. Try adding a few plush cushions to an office sectional to give a more homely, welcoming vibe.

If I don’t have a separate room for a relaxation space, what do I do?

If you don’t have a spare room available to convert into a recreation space, then you can adjust the layout of your current office floor and use office screens to create new relaxation spaces. Our range of FRONTIER Screens is perfect for creating new zones, as there are several styles to choose from and every screen in the FRONTIER Screens can connect to any other using the connection posts.

  • Office Dividers are an affordable choice - and a practical one. Available in a range of sizes and heights, they are finished with fabric panels in a variety of different colour options to blend with your office decor. They can also double up as pinboards, so you can use them for display purposes, too. They are lightweight and easily portable, and you can link several together to create a mini ‘room’ within your office floor.
  • Acoustic Office Screens are a great choice for a busy office environment if you’re trying to create an oasis of peace for relaxation. If your aim is to offer employees a place where they can sit quietly and read or meditate, then dividing this space off using acoustic dividers is essential. Acoustic panels are designed to absorb sound waves, preventing them from reverberating around a space; so creating smaller areas using connected acoustic panels offers your staff the quietest possible area within a busy working office floor.
  • Vinyl-covered panels such as our FRONTIER® Medical Screens Freestanding are manufactured with a finishing layer of antimicrobial vinyl which resists the build-up of bacteria and viruses and is incredibly easy to clean. This makes these screens ideal for kitchen environments, but also as office partitions to help reduce the ability of illness to spread. The vinyl is available in a variety of colours, and offers an opaque alternative to transparent Perspex social distancing screens. 
  • Curved Partitions can be used to create ‘pods’. Join several of these screens together and you can create individual ‘rooms’ - perfect for additional meeting rooms, private work spaces or recreation zones. 
  • Acoustic panels - wall-mounted sound-absorbing wall panels can be used in nd around the breakout room not only to help create a peaceful space but they add colour, design and decor to a room which can help set the scene and create a functional chill zone. 
  • Bespoke Office Meeting Pods can be used to create breakout rooms and relaxation spaces where employees can go to take a break. They are supplied with optional air filtration systems, glass or acoustic walls and a door so that office noise can be reduced. These free-standing breakout pods can be assembled anywhere essentially creating a room within a room. 

For more information on Office Partitions And Screens please get in touch via our Contact Us page or call us on 01234 676767.




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