People work hard in your facility – but do they get a chance to play? If not, a recreational space could be just what your building needs.
When executed correctly, explains Robin Menge, partner at GTM Architects, workplace recreational areas can bring benefits that include:
Creating a collaborative environment that encourages people across departments to interact
Increasing recruitment and retention of talented employees
Offering a change of scenery that can jog new ideas, thus contributing to productivity and innovation
(Photo: A choice of several seating heights at the Imagination Training Center, a corporate space for intra-office team building, lets people decide what suits their use of the space best. High seating makes a fun perch for a quick meal, while lower-to-the-floor lounges encourage relaxation and laid-back conversations. Credit: GTM Architects)
How to Make Room for Recreation
The benefits are clear, but many organizations simply don’t have the square footage to create a space that’s just for play. Facilities might instead consider a space that can do double duty for both work and fun, Menge explains.
[Related: Social Spaces That Work Throughout the Workday]
(Photo: A foosball table and TV make this break space at the Imagination Training Center a fun destination for anyone who needs a change of pace. Formerly a nondescript office, the space was transformed into a dynamic, multipurpose assembly area for more than 200 employees. Credit: GTM Architects)
“We find this mostly in the break room. In the morning and at lunch time, this space is mostly utilized for coffee and food, but sits empty the rest of the day,” says Menge. “Now this has become important real estate. The break room is increasing in size to accommodate staff lunches, informal meetings and auxiliary work spaces. It’s also becoming the place to go to watch sporting events and catch up with coworkers.”
[Check out: Convert to a Flexible Co-working Office Space]
Multi-use spaces benefit from designs and furnishings that allow users to adapt the space to their own needs. A break room might also include “a gaming table, TV, writeable walls and comfortable seating,” Menge says. A simple, enclosed room big enough for one or two people could also serve as a pumping area for nursing mothers, a meditation space or a phone booth for private calls.
(Photo: The lobby of Dr. Boyd's Veterinary Resort, a boarding, grooming and vet care facility in Maryland, features a lighting installation and seating shaped like dog bones. The fun furnishings and TVs create a space that's relaxing for employees and clients alike. Credit: GTM Architects)
Staying flexible is the key to a successful recreational space. “We’re big believers in flexibility,” Menge says. “We may provide an area for yoga but realize it could be used for a Zumba class. Outdoor spaces are sometimes hard to come by, but if provided with the right amenities, these can become active areas.
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