Why is An Office Relaxation Area A Must? In this article we give you several reasons why it is.
Employee absence as a result of stress is becoming an alarmingly common problem in modern offices. People feel overworked and stressed out and as a result, both their work and health suffer. Employers are scrambling to find ways to reduce worker burnout and increase productivity in their office without overworking employees.
Office relaxation areas and lounges have become increasingly popular in modern offices to solve this exact problem. Having a dedicated relaxation area in your office offers a host of benefits that will positively impact your bottom line.
Here are some reasons you should consider creating an Office Relaxation Area:
1. It’s an investment
An office relaxation area isn’t just some kind of luxury you want to provide to your employees. It serves a specific purpose that is beneficial to your business. Contrary to popular belief, relaxation and rest are essential parts of any line of work.
Constant, uninterrupted work won’t be as effective as work that is coupled with the occasional break. Various research shows that breaks and relaxation actually bolster productivity and morale in the workplace. Because of this, it’s in your company’s best interest that employees are given the most effective kind of relaxation. This is where an office relaxation area comes in.
Any money invested in the relaxation area has to be put to good use. You expect an increase in your bottom line for this investment, but that doesn’t mean that more money will lead to better relaxation. You need to know what the area needs and how you can maximize usage of the space.
2. The idea isn’t too expensive
Employers often scoff at the idea of building a relaxation area in the workplace. They might see it as an unnecessary waste of time, space, and resources. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only is it a sound investment in the long-term health and productivity of their workers, but it’s also not that difficult to provide such a luxury.
A lounge area requires only a couple of basic elements. For starters, you’ll obviously need to provide some comfortable seating for employees to enjoy. Cotton and linen couches are some of the most popular choices in lounge seating. They are considered pretty durable and you can expect them to last you a long while before you might need to restore or replace them. Best of all, new models don’t cost a lot of money, so you don’t have to worry about blowing all of your budget on seating. Leather couches are another option, but they are more on the expensive side of things.
Every relaxation area needs relaxing music to accompany it. You don’t have to go all-out on this either. Don’t let music snobs fool you, you don’t need a set of the most expensive professional lounge speakers in order to enjoy a coffee break. A couple of large computer speakers are more than enough to make your relaxing playlist pop. Most relaxation areas and lounges aren’t huge, spacious rooms, so you don’t have to worry about the sound losing any clarity due to the quality of the speakers. Something simple will satisfy everyone in the office.
3. It bolsters team cohesion
Teamwork is an essential part of any workplace. You want your employees to be on the same page when they’re working on projects together. Work isn’t about having each employee shine individually; it’s about having everyone work as a team to overcome obstacles and come up with new and brilliant ideas. With proper team cohesion, each team member can do work that is greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Having a common area where people can relax and converse will naturally increase the bond between coworkers. They already have a connection simply by being in the same room and working towards the same goal, but they can’t communicate directly while they’re busy working.
You can help create an atmosphere that encourages conversation in the workplace. While comfortably sipping coffee on the couch, people will naturally start conversations and establish friendly relations with each other. In a way, you can think of the relaxation are as a way for you to encourage friendliness and communication among your team members.
Having friends at the office increases motivation and morale for employees. Not only are they working towards the same goal, but they’re also helping close friends achieve those same goals.
4. It inspires creativity
People have a tendency to come up with good ideas when they find themselves in a different kind of environment than they’re used to. This rings true during work hours as well. While sitting at your desk, you’re going to get used to having the same mindset throughout the day. Having a relaxing break could be just the thing your brain needs to kickstart some kind of creative train of thought. What better way to relax than spending some time in the lounge with coworkers?
If you get a bunch of people in a room when they’re at their most relaxed and creative, good things are bound to happen. However, don’t treat the relaxation area as another workspace where people are pressured to be creative. Creative brainstorming shouldn’t be forced on your employees and team members. Let it flow naturally and eventually, you’ll see prosperous results come of it.
Research shows that music has a significant impact on creativity. It allows the mind to wander away just enough to think outside the box, but not enough to stop thinking about work and productivity. Having constant music blaring throughout the office won’t give you any good results, people will be annoyed quickly and you won’t see an increase in creative thought. Instead, you can have relaxing and mentally stimulating music play in the relaxation area. An occasional music break between busy work hours will do wonders for both relaxation and creativity.
The choice of music is a hotly debated topic, however. People are generally creative when listening to their chosen genre of music or something that is pleasant for everyone. You can’t pick out niche genres because an individual likes them, they have to affect everyone in a positive way. Classical and jazz music are considered the safest bets. They aren’t too in-your-face and aggressive with sounds and melodies, but they are always interesting to listen to.
5. It helps workers regain composure and energy
No matter how dedicated your workers are, they need to take breaks at regular intervals. Even the most prolific and energetic employees can overwork themselves relatively quickly. Burnout is a very real risk that could affect the quality of work being done. Taking the time to relax and drink some coffee is essential if workers want to keep being productive throughout the workday.
Much like what happens with muscles during training, short breaks allow the brain to regain composure after a stressful workday and then get back to work. Rest and a good cup of coffee work in tandem to give employees a dose of energy they might need to continue being productive.
Imagine a scenario where your employee has just finished a large amount of work in a short time. They head to the lounge already feeling tired from all the work they’ve done. There’s still half the workday to get through though. They have a seat and enjoy some calming tunes from the relaxing office playlist. They have a chat with some coworkers next to your Lavazza Office Coffee machine while they’re making a fresh cup.
A couple of conversations pass and they’ve already forgotten about the stresses of work. After they’ve finished their cup, they’re already both physically and mentally ready to get more work done. Sounds like a pretty ideal way to combat burnout. This is one of the main goals of having a relaxation area in your office.
6. You prioritize employee health
Keeping employees healthy and happy is in your best interest. Most office jobs require the worker to sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen for hours on end, which can’t be considered healthy. Offices aren’t seen as particularly dangerous places, but worker injuries are still very common.
Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neck injuries are some of the most common health issues employees can face in an office environment. Recovering from these issues takes time and it takes away from productivity and quality of work. Often, these problems arise from a lack of rest and physical activity.
Taking care of this is relatively easy. If you provide your employees with a chance to relax and unwind during work hours, they will be able to mitigate some of these issues. Walking to the relaxation area and relaxing in a different seated position is already a big plus.
Many employees will take the time to stretch their arms and back, which is extremely beneficial to muscle and joint health. Taking a break from looking at screens is also great for eye health. Most people get used to computer screens and don’t blink as much as they’re supposed to. This dries out their eyes and causes potential damage to their vision. A short break every once in a while, lets the eyes adapt and relax in preparation for more work.
Typing and using a mouse for very long periods of time can be detrimental to wrist health. There are exercises that prevent carpal tunnel syndrome but most employees neglect them in favour of doing more work. By having a relaxation area, you’re already encouraging them to take a short break from work. Even something as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee during breaks will offset some of the damage from constant work.
The office environment has changed quite a bit over the years. Stubbornness and adherence to old work values are no longer necessities. Nowadays, there is a focus on employee and employer health and productivity. You want your employees to give their best, so you give them the opportunity and means to achieve this.
Relaxation has become a crucial part of every office work environment, which is why these areas have become more and more common throughout offices worldwide. Anything that boosts employee productivity and creativity is a big plus to your business. It’s hard to pass up on an opportunity to create something that benefits everyone in the office.
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I am a business psychologist with a passion for marketing and design.