Do you ever feel like your workplace break room is just a sad, boring place for everyone to take breaks and eat something in peace?
Break rooms aren’t just a place to take a breather. They can be a hub for building strong working relationships and boosting team morale.
By incorporating fun and engaging break room ideas, you can encourage employees to connect with one another, relieve stress, and foster a positive workplace culture.
In this post, we’ll share some easy and unique break room ideas that will turn a dull space into a cool hangout spot, keeping employees engaged and happy.
What are break room ideas?
Break room ideas are creative and fun ideas aimed to make the break room a relaxing and engaging place for employees to relax, recharge, socialize, and bond with coworkers.
These ideas can range from equipping the breakroom with necessary furniture like a snack cabinet or a coffee machine to organizing activities like board games or team lunches.
Break room ideas: Physical layout
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for setting up a break room that is both attractive and functional to employees. It depends on the type, layout, and budget of your business. And you also need to seek input from employees to create a space that meets their needs and preferences.
However, you can still consider some layout elements that are necessary for a comfy and practical break room:
1. Comfortable seating
Comfortable seating is an essential element in any break room as it allows employees to rest and recharge.
To create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, you can consider these seating options:
- Soft couches or armchairs with cushions
- Beanbags or floor pillows
- Rocking chairs or gliders
- Recliners or lounge chairs
- Stools or ottomans for extra seating or footrests.
Tip: Consider the number of employees in your business and the size of your break room when selecting seating options to ensure everyone has enough space and comfort to relax.
2. Nap space
A designated quiet zone or nap area in your break room allows employees to relax and take quick naps during their breaks.
To set up a comfortable nap area, you can include:
- Low-level lighting
- Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs
- Comfortable seating or beds
- Massage chairs
- Aromatherapy diffusers
3. Kitchen area
The workplace kitchen is a hub where colleagues can gather and connect through shared meals and drinks.
Offer access to a fridge, microwave, and sink so employees can heat up their lunch or prepare their beverages. This allows people to bring their own meals and promotes healthier eating habits.
4. Snack station
A snack station in a break room can be a great addition to keep employees fueled throughout the day. Fill the cabinets with a variety of healthy and tasty snacks, catering to different tastes and preferences.
To make sure the snack station can serve the diverse cravings and dietary needs of team members, have a sign-up sheet where employees can request their favorite snacks.
Here are some unique snack ideas that can help you spice up the break room a bit:
- Specialty teas and coffees: Provide a range of unique teas and coffees from around the world, such as matcha, turmeric chai, or blue mountain coffee.
- DIY snack bars: Set up a DIY snack bar with ingredients like granola, dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips, so employees can create their own custom energy bars.
- International snacks: Offer a variety of imported snacks from different countries, such as Japanese Kit-Kats, British Cadbury chocolates, or Korean ramen.
- Exotic fruit basket: Stock up on a variety of unique and exotic fruits like dragon fruit, starfruit, and papaya.
5. Coffee station
A coffee station is a popular and practical addition to any break room. Employees can get a boost of energy from beverages during their break time.
A coffee station can include a variety of items, such as a coffee maker, mugs, spoons, sweeteners, and creamers. Some businesses even provide high-end coffee machines or barista-style espresso makers to create a coffee-shop-like atmosphere.
6. Mug station
A mug station can add personality and fun to your workplace break room. Employees can bring their own mugs to work and display theirs in a designated space.
You can use a cabinet with clear doors or a shelf with labeled cubbies for this mug area. Label each cubby with the employee’s name to avoid any confusion.
Tip: Keep some spare mugs available for guests or new employees. This is also a helpful backup for when someone forgets or breaks their main mug.
7. Bulletin board
Not just a break room decoration, a bulletin board is also a fun way for employees to share their ideas and interact in an asynchronous way.
Hang the bulletin board in a visible place in the room. Pick a theme for it. Fill it with cool information and activities. Encourage workers to add their ideas and pictures.
Here are some great bulletin board ideas you can apply:
- Events and announcements: Keep everyone up-to-date on important dates, holidays, and company events by displaying them on the bulletin board.
- Wellness board: Create a space to share healthy tips, exercises, and wellness challenges to encourage your coworkers to take care of themselves.
- Inspirational quotes: Fill the bulletin board with motivational quotes and sayings to inspire and uplift your coworkers.
Feel free to come up with your own unique themes to make your workplace break room fun and welcoming!
8. Reading corner
While some employees enjoy socializing and participating in group activities during their breaks, others may prefer to unwind and relax in solitude.
In such cases, having a workplace library and a reading corner can be a great addition to the break room. Research has shown that reading can be just as effective as yoga in reducing stress levels.
To set up a workplace library, you can invest in a bookshelf or create a corner with comfortable seating and a collection of books from various genres.
9. Exercise corner
Offering exercise and workout equipment in the breakroom can help promote a healthier lifestyle for employees.
You can provide workout equipment such as treadmills, dumbbells, yoga mats, pull-up bars, and more, in a dedicated corner of the breakroom. From chair yoga to jumping jacks, there are plenty of easy and low-impact workouts employees can do during breaks.
For more intensive exercises, consider rearranging the furniture or using large open spaces for activities such as kickboxing and high-intensity workouts or sports such as table tennis.
This can have benefits beyond just improving health, such as reducing stress and boosting company culture. Additionally, offering such facilities is a perk that can help attract and retain talented employees.
Having a TV in the break room can be a great addition to promote relaxation and entertainment for employees during their downtime.
You can choose to have a cable or satellite service, streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, or even a DVD or Blu-ray player. Don’t forget to consider the appropriate TV content for the workplace and the sensitivity of the employees.
Equip the room based on employees’ preferences and your budget: You don’t have to have everything on the list to make a cool break room. In fact, investing in equipment that no one will use is a waste of valuable space and resources.
Break room ideas: Entertainment
A breakroom is more than just a place to grab a snack or a cup of coffee. It’s also an ideal place for entertainment—fun games and activities!
11. Team puzzles
Puzzles are a great ongoing game for the break room since they can be worked on over an extended period of time. Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle, word search, or word jumble, these group games are a great way to kill time and work together.
All you need to do is pick out a puzzle and leave it on a break room table or hang it on a wall, cabinet, or fridge. Then, coworkers can take turns tackling a few clues at a time or work on it together.
Tip: Want to make the puzzle more of a team effort? Set a rule that each employee can only submit 2-3 answers, so everyone has to collaborate to complete the challenge.
12. Board games
Board games are easy to learn and don’t require close relationships between players, making them the perfect icebreaker. They’re also a fun way to de-stress and bond with coworkers.
All you need to do is stock up on a variety of games and your employees can play. You can buy travel-sized games to save table space, and make sure there are options for just two players so everyone can join in.
13. Doodle boards
Doodle boards let your team express themselves in creative ways.
Setting one up is a piece of cake: just get a big whiteboard or a bunch of smaller ones, provide a bunch of dry-erase markers, and let your employees have at it. You can give them prompts, like “draw your dream vacation” or “create a new superhero.”
Just make sure to snap some pictures of the best doodles and share them in the team chat before they get erased!
Crafts help de-stress and tap into employees’ creativity. If it’s a shared activity, it can also help colleagues connect and bond.
You can provide some simple DIY tools in the break room and instructions to help get started.
Some crafty activities employees can do in the room:
- DIY coasters: Provide some blank coasters, markers, stickers, and other decorations for employees to create their own personalized coasters.
- Painted flower pots: Set up a table with terracotta pots, paint, and brushes so that employees can decorate them and use them to hold plants or pens.
- Paper crafts: Provide materials for paper crafts such as origami, paper snowflakes, paper chains, or paper airplanes.
- Knitting or crocheting: Provide knitting needles, crochet hooks, and yarn for employees to make their own projects, such as scarves or hats.
- Embroidery: Leave out embroidery floss and fabric for employees to create their own embroidered designs.
If employees want to showcase their finished creations, you can dedicate a space in the break room for display or encourage them to display their work in their workspace.
15. Video games
Video games are a great way to engage employees who are fans of gaming. With a TV, consoles, computers, or tablets in the break room, the possibilities are endless.
There are many great games for break rooms, depending on the interests of your employees.
- Sports games like FIFA, Madden, UFC, and WWE are popular choices and can be fun to play individually or as part of a tournament.
- Classic games like Tetris, Pac-Man, or arcade-style fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken can be enjoyable for those who like retro games or fighting games.
- For those who prefer cooperative play, games like Overcooked or Mario Party can be great options.
- Many casual mobile games can be played on a smartphone or tablet, such as Among Us, Words with Friends, or trivia games like HQ Trivia.
To make it more exciting, you can set up a simple leaderboard where players compete for the highest score or organize a tournament with a grand prize for the winner. The tournament can be spread out over a week or two, and players can challenge each other during their break time.
Break room ideas: Bonding
The employee break room can be the place for team members to connect with each other and build stronger relationships via bonding activities.
16. Photo wall
A photo wall in your office break room is like a giant family photo album that fosters a sense of community in the workplace. It gives break takers something interesting to look at while they rest and help teammates get to know each other better.
Encourage employees to share pictures from work events such as holiday parties and team outings, as well as personal events like weddings or graduations. You can provide prompts such as “funny pets”, “group selfies” or “inspiring moments,” or simply let employees share their own favorite photos.
17. Employee spotlights
You can use this activity to introduce new hires or share interesting facts about existing employees. Through this, everyone in the workplace can have a better understanding of their coworkers, which can lead to better communication and teamwork.
To set it up, take a photo of each employee and display them randomly on the breakroom wall. Under each photo, have the employee write some information about themselves such as:
- Preferred method of communication
- Most productive time of day
- Stress indicators
- Favorite food
18. Team lunches
Instead of everyone eating alone or in separate groups, consider organizing team lunches in the break room. Whether it’s for a department or a group with a shared interest, team lunches can help bring everyone closer together.
Choose a day and time that works for everyone, and plan the lunch accordingly. This could include ordering in from a local restaurant, cooking together as a team, or having a potluck.
19. Question of the week
Each week, post a funny or thought-provoking question on a whiteboard, bulletin board, or a large piece of paper and have your coworkers respond. This sparks conversations and allows people to get to know each other, even if they can’t be in the same room.
To mix things up and get everyone involved, consider taking turns coming up with the question of the week. You can also encourage your coworkers to sign their names to their answers so people can learn more about each other.
Here are some fun questions:
- What is your favorite joke or pun?
- What is your go-to karaoke song?
- What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
- What is the funniest prank you’ve ever played or had played on you?
- If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
So why not give the “Question of the Week” a try and see where the conversation takes you?
20. Pen pals
This activity can help coworkers from different departments or teams to connect since they may not have many opportunities to interact. The idea is to pair up employees and have them exchange short notes and small gifts for a week or two.
To get started, put up a sign-up sheet in the breakroom, assign pairs, and provide a community mailbox for the pen pals to leave their surprises. At the end of the activity, the partners can meet up for coffee or meals to share their experiences and chat.
This activity is a great way to foster socialization and promote teamwork while bringing some joy and personal touch to the workplace. Plus, who doesn’t love receiving a handwritten letter or a thoughtful gift?
21. Pet sharing
Pet sharing is a great way to bring the joy of pets into the workplace, especially for remote teams who miss out on in-person interactions.
One idea is to create a pet wall where coworkers can hang pictures of their pets. Instead of feeling awkward asking for pet photos, people can now share their furry friends through a designated space in the break room.
Another idea is to have a “furry employee of the month” program, where pet owners can fill out profiles of their pets, including fun details like their favorite napping spot, toy, or treat. This activity not only brings a smile to everyone’s faces, but it also helps coworkers get closer.
22. This or That
This or That is a fun and simple game that encourages coworkers to engage in friendly competition.
Each week, choose two opposing concepts, such as “rock music vs. classical music” or “beach vacation vs. mountain vacation”.
Set up an area for employees to vote on their preferred option. You can use a ballot box or a board for writing their names or placing picture magnets.
At the end of the week, tally the votes and announce the winning concept. Those who win can get small gifts or some good laughs.
Meet-ups in the break room allow workers to meet and bond with colleagues. You can organize the meet-up based on specific themes and activities such as:
- Breakfast club: Organize a breakfast meetup where colleagues can enjoy bagels, coffee, and breakfast pastries. Provide conversation prompts or games to help break the ice.
- Creative hour: Provide art supplies or adult coloring books and invite colleagues to get creative during their break. Set up a quiet corner in the break room where colleagues can work on their projects and chat.
- Sports day: Organize a friendly sports tournament, such as table tennis or cornhole, in the break room. Encourage colleagues to form teams and participate together.
24. Photo booth
Setting up a DIY photo booth in the break room encourages employees to capture and cherish memories from their time at work.
All you need is a creative background on a wall or bulletin board, print-out props, and an instant camera or a shared album/folder to store photos taken with smartphones.
The photos can also be hung on the wall to add some personality and warmth to the break room.
25. Exchange station
Exchange station is an activity where colleagues trade stuff with one another. Like a small flea market, they can exchange clothing, decor items, tools, toys, accessories, or even foods.
To get started, designate a table or box as the exchange space. To participate, employees can contribute, browse, or borrow the items.
Tip: To ensure the exchange station doesn’t become a dumping ground, make a rule that items cannot be left there for more than a week. And as a manager, you can also periodically add to the station with items like company swag or snacks to keep the interest and excitement going. Have fun!
26. Fridge magnets
If you have limited wall space, you can transform the fridge into a creative outlet for your team by using magnets.
Here are some magnet suggestions for the fridge in your break room:
- Magnetic poetry kits: These kits include words on individual magnets that can be arranged into poems or creative writing on the fridge.
- Alphabet magnets: These magnets can be used to spell out words or messages on the fridge.
- Employee name magnets: Create magnets with each employee’s name to help everyone remember each other’s names.
- Would you rather magnets: Create magnets with different scenarios and have employees cast their votes on the fridge.
- This or that magnets: Create magnets with different options and have employees choose their preferences.
- Emoji magnets: Have some fun with emoji magnets that can be used to express different emotions or sentiments.
- Magnetic tape: Keep magnetic tape handy so that teammates can easily turn any item into a magnet.
Break room ideas: Events
27. Offer barista-style coffee
Who doesn’t love sipping on their favorite beverages and watching the art of coffee making while catching up with colleagues?
Offering barista-style coffee in your breakroom can be a fun weekly ritual that gives your employees something to look forward to. You can arrange for a local barista to set up shop in your breakroom and serve coffee to your staff.
Before hiring a barista, make sure they have the necessary equipment and check that their schedule aligns with the workplace’s preferred day and time.
28. Coffee of the week
One way to add some excitement to your breakroom is by featuring a “Coffee of the week” program.
Rather than hiring a barista, you can offer a different, special blend each week and have your employees vote on their favorite. They can also vote for future flavors.
To take it up a notch, consider partnering with a local coffee roaster and featuring their blends. You could even invite them to host a small coffee workshop to educate your employees on the art of coffee making.
29. Fresh-up fundraising
Besides preparing the essential equipment and decor for the break room, you can let employees contribute to a fresh-up fund through donations or crowdfunding. This fund will be used to upgrade the break room.
Suggestions for improvements can come from anyone, and the entire team can vote on what upgrades they would like to see. Some ideas might include high-quality coffee makers, fun board games, or a small indoor garden.
30. Tidying contests
Break room messes can sometimes lead to tension among coworkers. Instead of pointing fingers or getting into arguments, you can turn tidying the break room into a fun competition.
You can create a checklist of cleaning tasks with their frequency and assign points to each task. Or give a raffle entry to teammates for every task completed.
At the end of each month, award a prize to the person with the most points or raffle entries. You can mix it up by offering both big and small prizes to keep everyone motivated.
31. Bring-your-favorite-snack-to-work day
Each week, a different employee brings in their favorite snack to share with the team. This event satisfies everyones’ sweet tooth, allows people to try diverse snacks, and sparks interesting conversations.
32. Quiet hours
Introducing scheduled “quiet hours” in the break room provides team members with a much-needed break from the chatter and noise of the workday. These hours are especially helpful for introverted or highly-focused individuals who need time to recharge.
To implement quiet hours, simply choose a few hours each week or certain hours of the day when employees use the break room in silence. Make sure to communicate the schedule clearly and provide alternative social spaces for those who prefer a more lively environment.
33. Healthy challenges
To promote wellness and encourage team bonding, you can set up a “Healthy together” challenge in your workplace. The challenge can be tailored to suit the needs of your team and can include activities such as healthy eating, daily exercises, or stretching.
To participate, employees can sign their names on a calendar each time they complete the challenge.
Here are some examples of health challenges you can try with your team:
- Step challenge: Encourage your team to track their daily steps and see who can walk the most steps in a week or a month.
- Water challenge: Challenge your team to drink a certain amount of water every day, such as 8 glasses or 2 liters.
- Yoga challenge: Set a goal to practice yoga for a certain number of minutes each day, and encourage your team to join in.
- Meditation challenge: Challenge your team to meditate for a certain amount of time each day, and provide resources such as guided meditations to help them get started.
Tip: Choose challenges that are accessible and achievable for everyone on your team, and provide support and encouragement throughout the process.
Break room ideas: Motivation
34. Pep talk exchange
Pep talk exchange is designed to boost morale and offer support to employees who need it.
This activity involves writing anonymous notes of encouragement and leaving them in a designated box or on a wall for others to read. These messages can be motivational quotes, words of encouragement, or funny compliments.
Employees can take out as many notes as they need, whenever they need. And then people can put the notes back for others to read or keep them.
To get the activity started, managers can add their own notes of encouragement and inspiring quotes to the box.
Kudos is a way to spread some love in your workplace and build an appreciative culture.
It’s simple: every time you feel thankful or appreciative of something a coworker has done, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a jar.
Once a month, at a team meeting or during a break, you can read the kudos out loud and give a shout-out to those who deserve it. You can even stick them up on the bulletin board so everyone can see how awesome their coworkers are.
Ready to try out these break room ideas?
The break room is a special and important place in the workplace. It’s where employees can relax, recharge, socialize, and bond. It’s a place where everyone is welcome, and where work relationships can be strengthened and new ones formed.
By trying creative and engaging break room ideas, leaders can help promote a culture of collaboration and teamwork, leading to a more productive and happy workplace. Employees get to spend break time in a fun and meaningful way, rather than just mindlessly scrolling through a phone.
So let’s get creative, have fun, and make the break room the best it can be!
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