Two of the best ways to help employees stay productive seem to conflict with each other. On the one hand (and backed with increasing amounts of science), you want your employees to take breaks to stay focused, healthy, and happy. On the other hand, you don’t want employees to leave. The more times your employee drives away from the building each day, the less time they spend actually working and the less focus they have.
So, how do you reconcile the two contradictory aims? With better office design. Encourage your employees to take breaks, but encourage them to spend those breaks on campus. Here’s how:
Have lots of communal kitchen and recreation space.
If you give your employees nicely-decorated, comfortable places to eat lunch, they’re more likely to eat lunch in the office without regarding it as a negative. That means more interdepartmental communication and general friendliness. It also means your employees won’t get caught in traffic or be gone for too long. If you also have spaces for them to take the occasional personal call, they’ll be able to fix problems and get back to their projects with less anxiety.
Give them places to go.
The standard breakroom with a communal and rarely cleaned coffee machine is fading out. The rapid expansion of Starbucks, coffee joints, and places “just around the corner” means employees duck out to grab a quick cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that; it just takes too much time to come and go.
Instead, look for office spaces where there’s a coffee place in the building. In co-working spaces, have a coffee bar nearby. You can also have automated cafeterias that offer healthier alternatives to vending machines that aren’t too expensive to maintain.
Trapping your employees in an isolated office park or micromanaging their time won’t make them more productive. They need to be able to take comfortable breaks. So, focus on office design that minimizes the lost transportation time in-between breaks and work. Go to Studio Others for more ideas on how to make that happen.