The Importance of Breakout Areas
The balance between public and private workspaces is something that companies have been trying to perfect for decades, and with the transformation of workspaces to include more collaborative areas, we encourage people to take a sneak peek inside our breakout areas. Harvard concluded a study in the 1980s that found that 85 per cent of employees needed a quiet place to concentrate. So thousands of high-walled cubicles took over the corporate world. And by the late 1990s, only 23 per cent of employees still wanted that, and 50 per cent said they needed more access to other people and more interactions.
The research now suggests that it went too far the other way, and offices are too open for the intensity of work that happens today. At A1 Office we are aware that a workspace needs to empower the potential of those who inhabit it, and any area is a representation of your business. Many companies are still trying to find that balance between individual work areas and breakout areas and in doing so they engage design-led thinking to determine the best outcome for them.
Why include breakout areas in your workplace?
Give employees space for anything
Breakout spaces don’t need a defined purpose to exist; Although, the breakout area can set the tone and atmosphere for whatever kind of work people are wanting to do in these spaces. No longer are people looking for nooks and crannies to plop down for a short time. Breakout areas are rapidly becoming the most productive areas within an office.
A breakout area could be tucked into a quiet corner – this would attract an employee looking for a hideaway (a place to concentrate on something important for a short period). An ‘experimental’ breakout area that’s themed like a coffee shop would more likely encourage collaboration and small groups looking to brainstorm and bounce off each other. The atmosphere of each space is important as it signals to the worker what kind of environment they are expected to work in.
Creating a wide range of breakout spaces throughout your business is a great way to give your employees the flexibility to do different types of work in new environments. Need a minute to do some quiet work? Or need a louder, open space to do some work with a group? Having options means more variation in the workday. The more diversity there is, the easier it is for employees to move seamlessly throughout the space as their daily tasks require.
Natural Rhythm of Collaboration
Sometimes people need to focus alone, other times in pairs to generate ideas and process information. Often they need to then come together as a larger group to build on those ideas or develop a shared vision. The more collaboration needed – the more time individuals need in private spaces to think or recharge. The natural flow of collaboration requires spaces to come together and spaces to be alone, to think more thoroughly without the distraction of people.
All things people
Whether you are an introvert who is bound to their desk or an extrovert who loves to be in the centre of the action, eventually you’ll need a breakout space for your work. These spaces need to be flexible to accommodate the office’s creative flow.
These spaces are designed to provide an escape from the bustling office environment. To get away and either network or recuperate for a moment. There are plenty of Australian companies getting onto this trend, for example, Group Four and their gamification themed office. Another example across the globe is the Googleplex offices – legendary for its rubber ball pits, sleep pods and dinosaur skeletons.
Creating multipurpose areas is the answer to this problem. Well-designed collaborative workspaces and breakout areas can be used for many purposes. From casual meetings and collaborative sessions, to provide an area for employees to be away from their screens. Collaborative spaces and breakout areas have different uses but are both essential for employees in an office space. At A1 Office we can help you decide what kind of breakout areas you should include in your office, so get in touch today.