Breakrooms Can Help Curb Stress in the Office

May 8, 2014

Creating a break-encouraging workplace culture is essential, according to a new survey.

More than a quarter of office workers don’t take a break other than lunch, according to a recent Staples survey. One in five respondents cited guilt as the primary reason for not stepping away for a break.

“An alarming trend that’s plaguing workers is job-related stress, which costs companies hundreds of billions of dollars each year,” says John Trougakos, associate professor of management at the University of Toronto. “However, these costs can be reduced with regular work breaks, while improving employee effectiveness, satisfaction, and reducing strain and fatigue.”

What can companies do to foster a break-friendly environment? The key may lie in breakrooms, as 58% of respondents said a well-stocked and comfortable breakroom would encourage breaks, and 76% said such breakrooms would allow them to unwind and relieve stress.

To help encourage breaks, Staples recommends the following:

  • Provide healthy snacks and beverages: Employees want snacks, with respondents overwhelmingly looking for healthy snack options, such as nuts and granola bars (57%), compared to chips, cookies, or candy (10%).
  • Think about comfort: Furniture is an important consideration for the overall comfort and appeal of the breakroom. But 50% of respondents don’t have a properly furnished breakroom to allow for relaxation. Employers can provide furniture that allows employees to unwind with their snacks and beverages and socialize with colleagues.
  • Maintain a break-encouraging workplace culture: This helps reduce employee guilt from taking necessary breaks and makes breaks more effective. Ultimately, this will improve worker well-being and productivity.
  • The power of positivity: Employees should do something during breaks to generate positive feelings, since these emotions are energizing, improve creativity, and can increase productivity.

Does the building you work in provide a well-equipped breakroom?

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