22 Unique Office Break Room Ideas And Activities To Unleash Your Teams' Creativity In 2023
Let's be honest. Working 9-5 can be exhausting for your employees. And while staring at phones or slurping down coffee in silence can be tempting, it's not exactly the most rejuvenating way to recharge. That's why you need a well-designed office break room and create a space that fosters relaxation and a little fun.
But where do you start? What are the top employee break room decorating ideas? How can you organize your small employee break room to maximize space and minimize clutter? What are some fun break room ideas that won't break the bank?
Don't worry. We've got you covered.
In this blog, we've compiled a list of creative and practical office breakroom ideas that will do wonders for your employee morale, team bonding, and overall productivity.
So, grab your cup of coffee, and let's get started.
What is an office break room?
An office break room is a designated space or room where your employees can go to relax, rejuvenate, and escape the monotony of working at their desks. It's a place where employees can come together to refuel and socialize.
Whether you call it a lounge, a chill zone, or a recreation room, it's the perfect spot to foster peer relationships and bond over shared interests. It's not just a place to grab a snack but a hub for socializing, networking, and getting to know your colleagues.
Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it, we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
– Tim Kreider.
Why are break rooms important?
1. Alleviate burnout:
In a study, employees said more breaks could improve work happiness (59%), personal happiness (43%), and overall health (37%).
In fact, employees who prioritize their health and wellness often take more breaks.
Today's workforce works extremely hard, putting in long hours that often spill into our home lives. People need a place to decompress at work, both physically and mentally. To do that effectively, the space should look and feel different from the rest of the office to distinguish it as a place to relax, rewind and collaborate with colleagues.
– Business News Daily.
2. Increased productivity:
Break rooms can help your people deactivate their brains from work. It allows their brain to rest and resets its ability to concentrate. Thus, employees' mental focus improves when they return to work.
85% of employees believe regular breaks during work days can boost productivity. As per another study, employees, especially when tired, can benefit from "microbreaks." Even infrequent five-minute breaks can increase energy and the likelihood of achieving work goals.
3. Encourage regular breaks:
A study found that over 25% of employees didn't take regular breaks except for lunch.
When people take lesser breaks, it also impacts their focus and, ultimately, the quality of work. While that might sound like you have a productive employee in hand, the reality is far off.
So, yes, the quantity of output may increase, but at the cost of turning in sub-optimum results.
A designated breakroom with options for fun activities can encourage your people to take more breaks.
How to decorate a break room?
Your employee break room should be a retreat for your staff, not a punishment. If it's unwelcoming and disorganized, your teams may feel more like inmates than valued members of the company.
This leads us to the question— How can you make the break room more inviting?
Here are a few tips from our side:
Make sure you have plenty of comfortable seating options for your employees to relax in. You can consider adding the following:
- Soft and squishy bean bags
- A loveseat to snuggle up with a good book
- Poufs (if you are looking for compact seating options)
- Cozy armchairs in different colors or patterns to add some visual aesthetic.
Why not carve out a little zen zone for your employees? A place where they can meditate or just sit quietly and take a few deep breaths to clear their heads and let their stress melt away.
And don't worry; you don't need to go overboard with fancy decor. You can create a peaceful ambiance without breaking the budget with just a few simple touches like-
- A comfy rug
- A few indoor plants
- Scented candles
- Calming artworks
- Some soft pillows
- Soothing lights and music
A Nap Corner:
Even a 10-minute nap can increase cognitive function and reduce fatigue. So, encourage your employees for a little afternoon siesta or a quick power nap with a dedicated nap corner.
To make the setting cozy, you can add soft blankets and cozy pillows. Also, noise-canceling headphones are a must.
A Mini Office Library:
If you want to add some elements of "productive entertainment" into your breakroom, an office library could be a great option.
Ensure that the office book collection features diverse genres, authors, and languages. Whether your teams are into sci-fi, romance, or self-help, design it to cater to their varied tastes.
Bulletin boards are extremely versatile. On the one hand, it can be a spot where the team's accomplishments are displayed as a badge of honor. Conversely, it can be a fun area for your staff to unleash their creativity and pin up their best works.
Here are a few employee break room bulletin board ideas to keep things interesting:
- Give your team a nudge and inspire discussions with some thought-provoking prompts.
- Keep your staff up to date on the latest company news and events
- Showcase employee achievements
- Showcase funny memes to keep everyone's spirits high.
An exercise corner will remind your people to take quick stretch breaks. They can also do some light exercises or a quick yoga session to get the blood flowing.
To make it more functional and encourage more employees to break room workouts, you can add:
- Some light weights
- Resistance bands
- Yoga mats
A Kitchen Area:
Kitchens can become the heart of your team's social life during lunch hours.
However, if you are working with a limited space or a limited budget, a coffee machine and a healthy snack bar can be a great alternative.
To keep the break room environment interesting, keep changing things up. A few decorative pieces here and there or festive decorations during celebrations can do the job.
22 Ideas To Make Your Office Break Room More Fun
Looking for some exciting and fun ideas for employee break rooms?
We've got you covered.
Here are some awesome office break room games and activities to help your employees destress, bond, and connect with each other.
1. Tabletop Foosball
Your employees can participate in this game either in one-on-one or in two teams. Jazz it up further by hosting foosball tournaments with creative team names like The Table Titans, The Rod-Iculous, The Ball Busters, or The Keyboard Warriors.
How to play?
The participants will be in charge of mini-players attached to little rods, trying to score goals. The employee or team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.
2. Tabletop Shuffleboard:
This game will be a blast for everyone, from your youngest employee to your veterans. All you need is a playing board, some discs, and a scoring chart to get started.
How to play?
To play, the participants will slide their discs along the board, aiming to get them into the highest-scoring areas. They can earn points by sliding all four of their discs to the highest-scoring areas without falling off the board.
It's usually played for 15 or 21 points. The one who reaches the target score first wins.
Looking to ramp up the excitement in the game?
Show your team how to knock off opponents' weights, outdistance them, or protect high-scoring weights with tactical moves. After all, this game is about being strategic and precise.
The ping-pong and foosball table, library, and open kitchen ensure impromptu happy hours. According to me, this is what drives creativity…It just feels like a home away from home.
– Aditya Nadkarni.
3. Beer Pong (but without the alcohol):
If you are looking for small break room ideas, this one will fit your needs. To play this game, you will only need 6-10 cups, some beverages, and a ping pong ball.
How to play?
In beer pong, the cups are arranged in triangles on each side of the table. Players then take turns throwing ping-pong balls into the opponent's cups.
If a ball lands in a cup, the other team drinks its contents, and that cup is removed. The team that eliminates all cups first wins.
Typically the cups are filled with beer, as the name suggests. But, to keep things office appropriate, opt for water or another non-alcoholic beverage.
You can jazz it up further with different colored cups or assign point values to each cup.
Beer Pong is now a professional sport with The World Series of Beer Pong(WSOBP). The first-ever beer pong tournament was organized in 2006. It's now held annually in Las Vegas, attracting players from around the world. Oscar Goodman, the former mayor of Las Vegas, even declared it the city's official sport in 2013.
4. Tabletop Cornhole Game:
Who says exercise has to be boring?
This game provides a fun and engaging way to get some physical activity. It works your arms, shoulders, back, and legs while also enhancing your hand-eye coordination skills.
And the best thing?
It's portable. Your employees can play it on a table, floor, or any other flat surface.
How to play?
For this classic game, you will need a small board with a hole in the far end. And the players will have to toss small bean bags into the hole.
To make it even more budget-friendly, alter the board with a cup/bucket and the bean bags with office supplies like paper clips or stress balls.
Here's a quick rule guide for you:
- Decide the distance of the thrower from the corn board and mark it.
- Decide the scores. (such as 3 points if the bag remains on the board and 10 points for a bag that lands in the hole. Or -5 if it lands outside the board.)
- Decide who will go first.
- Take turns throwing bags into the hole.
- The team who wins 2 rounds out of three wins.
Cornhole is not just a fun game, but a sport too. There are organizations that promote this game worldwide. Some players are also given scholarships and prize money! It can even get you a chance to see yourself on ESPN someday!
5. Indoor Bocce Ball:
Can you name a few indoor games where a large group of employees can participate together? Pretty difficult, right?
Well, an indoor bocce ball set could be an answer. Although it falls under small office break room ideas, 8-12 employees can play the game together.
How to play?
To play this game, participants, i.e., your employees, will throw small balls toward a target ball called the "pallino."
The goal is simple. Place your ball as closely as possible to the target. Opponents can even knock out each other's balls to win the match.
The team with the closest ball after the set number of turns wins the game.
6. Indoor Mini-Golf Course:
Brings the fun of outdoor games without going outside with this excellent small office break room idea. To top it off, it doesn't take up much space and is ideal for brief gaming sessions during breaks.
For this game, you can either install an indoor golf mat in the office or make a mini golf course of your own.
Wait… a DIY golf course? Is that even possible?
Well, yes, and it's as easy as pie.
You just have to provide a few building supplies like tubes, pipes, paper cups, cardboard boxes, and used canes. (Oh, and let's not forget the golf ball and putting!). All you have to do now is let your employees use their creativity and make their own miniature golf course.
Here's how LinkedIn employees did it:
How to play?
The rules are no different than playing on an outdoor golf course. Your employees will take turns trying to hit the golf ball with a putter to score points.
Want to make it even more fun?
Here are some great office break room golf challenges for your employees-
- Hole-in-one challenge.
- Blind Putting Challenge.
- Left-Handed Challenge (For right-handed golfers or vice versa).
- One-Handed Putting Challenge.
- Putt through the course within the set time.
7. Table Tennis Table:
Table tennis first entered into offices in the '90s as a brain sport. It can help your employees cultivate better alertness, concentration, and strategic thinking.
Now, it's so popular in the tech industry that a Wall Street Journal has even referred to ping-pong table sales as a measurement of the industry's health.
If you're short on space, get a foldable table that can be easily stored when not in use.
8. Mini Basketball Hoop And Ball:
After hours of sitting at the desk, this game can help your people get their body moving, increase blood flow, and destress.
If you are looking for break room ideas on a budget, this option's a steal. You will only need to install a basketball hoop and a ball. Plus, it's a compact game– very easy to set up and take down.
Your employees can shoot some hoops. They can even make a game out of it, challenge their coworkers and keep score to find a champion. Or if they can take it to the next level and challenge their teammates to shoot while standing on one leg.
Doesn't it already sound fun?
9. Air Hockey Table:
The sport was invented by Brunswick Billiards employees in 1962 and quickly gained popularity.
It's a game that's sure to bring some excitement and energy to your break room and help your employees unwind amid the busy workday.
10. Giant Connect Four Game:
It's the larger-than-life version of the traditional Connect Four game. Typically played by two players, this game can promote strategic thinking and friendly competition among your people. It's also a visually appealing game that can add a touch of whimsy to your office break room.
How to play?
Your employees will choose a colour. Then take turns to strategically drop colored discs into a vertical board. Whoever first connects four disks (vertically/ horizontally/diagonally) wins.
Make it even more exciting by challenging your employees to play with one hand tied behind their back.
11. Pool Table:
A pool table can also be a stylish addition to your break room decor. This game requires employees to use mental math and tactical thinking. Thus it acts as a form of mental exercise.
In a study, 92.03 respondents mentioned pool tables as one of the top office perks.
Such games create a ripple of friendly competition in the workplace, setting the stage for a fun-filled break. They initiate conversations among employees and build camaraderie. Thus, ultimately setting the tone for better workplace friendships.
Break Room Ideas For Small Space
Looking for some fun employee break room ideas that won't take up too much space? I got your back.
Here's a compiled list of small employee break room ideas to help your employees destress while having fun.
12. Magnetic dart board:
It's one of the classic office break room games. Since the magnetic darts have no sharp points, it's a safe option and won't damage the walls. Plus, it's appropriate for employees of all ages and skill levels.
Without the dartboard, Lucidica wouldn't be the same. It represents our personality, and without it, we wouldn't have as much fun. The dartboard is our unsung hero because it's a reminder to us not to take everything so seriously. We love our work, but we also love the little things that make our place of work enjoyable.
– Ode to… the Dartboard by Lucidica Team.
13. Art Therapy:
It's a great break room idea that can infuse fun and creativity without breaking the bank.
In art therapy, the things we draw are not as random as we think. All the faces, images, colors, patterns, and lines we make have specific meanings.
They are a gateway to dive deeper into our consciousness. In fact, art therapy can let your employees reflect on the abandoned parts of themselves.
If you're vibing with this concept, why not bring it to your office break room?
Here are a few easy ways to let your people channel their essence through art therapy-
- Create a comfortable floor seating arrangement or provide a chair and a table in the office breakroom.
- Give them a variety of art supplies options, including coloring books and pencils, markers, paint, and clay.
- Display your team's artwork on a bulletin board and give them a chance to show off their talents.
- You can also host a monthly art therapy workshop or class led by a professional art therapist.
14. Group Art:
Did you know group art projects can help you build better peer relations in the workplace? It's true! And we've got a great idea for you to try out.
Arrange a big artboard or whiteboard with a few color markers in your office break room. Write prompts or themes of the day on top of the board to guide employees further.
Here's a fun prompt to help you get started:
Draw a circle in the middle of the paper or the whiteboard. And paste a cue card with the following problem/situation:
"Imagine this: This circle represents a deserted island. You're there shipwrecked with your team, and each of you can only bring three things. What would you bring to survive?"
This will encourage your people to think beyond the cookie-cutter. Each person will bring their unique perspectives to keep everyone alive. Give it a shot and see what kind of creative solutions your team can come up with.
What an unconventional approach to encourage problem-solving, right?
15. Paper Collage:
Encourage your people to let their imaginations run wild with a paper collage. Here's all you need for this:
- A bunch of old magazines
- A few pairs of scissors
- A big artboard or chart paper
Every color they choose to use can hint at different feelings and emotions. Red can represent excessive emotions like anger, love, or enthusiasm. While Blue often represents sadness.
Thus, such craft projects mean more than a source of relaxation for your employees. They are also a great way of self-expression and self-reflection.
If you want to make art therapy even more beneficial for your employees, consider providing a little guidebook that explains what it is and its benefits. Make sure to explain the meaning of different colors, lines, and patterns. It will help your teams make the most of this creative experience.
16. Doodle Board:
The different lines and patterns of a doodle represent different emotions or patterns of an individual. Thus your employees will get a chance to look at their inner selves with it.
Plus, research has shown that doodling stimulates new ideas. It can also alleviate anxiety by keeping your employees focused on the present.
So go ahead and let your team unleash their inner scribbler.
....doodling is more than just a mindless and frivolous activity or distraction. It can help access the body's healing wisdom and allow your spirit to rest, recover and regroup.
– Carol Edmonston.
17. Healthy Snack Swap:
If you are looking for some cool break room ideas on a budget, this is a great option for you.
For this activity, each of your employees can bring a healthy snack and swap it with one another. The purpose here is to encourage your people to try new healthy snacks. It's a great way to promote healthy eating habits, employee wellness, and community in the office.
To add some spice, you can create challenges where employees for a blind taste test. Here employees will have to guess the ingredients of the snack they are trying. And the person who can guess all the ingredients correctly will get a prize like fun desk magnets, reusable water bottles, and others.
18. Book Club:
Book clubs provide a fun opportunity for colleagues to bond over their shared love of books. Plus, reading can enhance your employee's creativity, critical thinking, and communication skills.
Here are some interesting ideas to make book club discussions even more fun:
- Encourage employees to experiment and try reading books outside of their preferred genres, like graphic novels or slipstream fiction.
- Offer employees to choose a theme for the week. It could be "books that became movies" or "books where the hero dies in the ending."
- Encourage employees to have a potluck where everyone brings a dish/snack inspired by a book of their choice.
- If your budget is on the higher end, you can sometimes invite an author to speak at the book club meeting (even if it's virtual).
19. Paint And Plant:
It's a great activity for employees who don't have a knack for plants. Employees can paint their own planters and plant their favorite herbs, succulents, and more.
Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to make employee break rooms fun-
- Arrange a "plant swap." Here participants can exchange their plants and take home a new addition to their desks or home garden.
- Theme it up. (like- Zen Garden., coloring your emotion, outer space, or your products)
- Upcycle materials, such as tin cans or plastic bottles, to use as plant pots.
Make a variety of paints, stickers, and other decorations accessible to inspire creativity.
Premium Break Room Ideas At Work
If your budget is on the higher end, here are some work break room ideas you can't miss-
20. VR Gaming Station
Add a modern touch to your office break room experience with a virtual reality station. It can be a fun and immersive way for your employees to take a break and escape into a whole new world.
But before you jump headfirst into setting up a VR station, here are a few things to consider-
- Choose the right VR headset and device that fits your budget, space, and preferences. You can go for the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or any other headset that tickles your fancy.
- VR games will require your employees to do actual physical movements. Make sure the room's surface is comfortable enough for your employees to move around without any mishaps.
- Make sure your VR station has enough space to house multiple players. Because it's always more fun to play with your work buddies.
- Watch out for reflective surfaces that can interfere with the sensors.
- Use heavy curtains on the windows to keep the light out and ensure a smooth VR experience.
You don't want employees to frequently visit the first aid room with twisted ankles or scraped knees, do you?
So make sure you have all the safety measures in place. Create a hazard-free environment. Ensure there are no obstacles(chairs, glass tables, ceiling fans, or any other furniture) in the room/decided VR station.
Also, make sure that the space is large enough for employees to jump, run, and crawl while playing VR games.
21. Massage Chairs:
Want to take your office break room relaxation to the next level? Well, how about adding a few massage chairs?
These chairs are designed to offer targeted pressure and relaxation to muscles. Thus it can allow your employees to experience deep relaxation during their work breaks. It's great for releasing back and neck tension caused by hours of sitting at the desk.
Massage therapy has also been proven to reduce stress/ anxiety and enhance the EEG pattern of individuals.
22. Nap Pods:
According to neuroscientist Matthew Walker, "There isn't really any aspect of your health, mind or wellness that isn't dependent on sufficient sleep."
But with longer commutes and work hours, getting enough sleep has become a real struggle for many employees.
And the result?
You are left with employees (at least a few) slogging through the rest of the day. Productivity goes out the window, and their mental health also gets affected.
That's where nap pods come in. You can view them as cozy little cocoons where your employees can catch some zzzs and recharge their batteries.
As the old saying goes, "A nap a day keeps the exhaustion at bay." (Okay, we may have made that one up, but you get the idea.)
The cherry on top? Nap pods are super compact. So you won't have to clear out an entire room for nap time.
Companies like Google and Zappos are already on board with the nap pod trend. And it's easy to see why they're a total game-changer when it comes to employee wellness and productivity.
So, are you ready to say hello to a well-rested workforce with this new addition of nap pods?
If you are intrigued by the idea of nap pods but short on the budget, a free subscription to a sleep app could be a great alternative solution.
So, there you have it!
Ditch the same old office break room activities and switch things up with these ideas.
It's a simple but entertaining game that's perfect for
Whether your employees want to take a quick break or have a longer lunchtime tournament with a colleague. These break room ideas for office are sure to be a hit.
1. What do you put in a staff break room?
When it comes to staff break room ideas, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. So, it's best to let your employees' preferences and unique needs be your guide. For example, if you have new moms in the office, you might want to create a cozy little nook for breastfeeding or pumping, a comfy chair, a fridge for milk storage, and easy access to a sink.
2. What is the function of the break room?
It serves as a vital space in the office where your people can unwind and recharge. It encourages employees to take active breaks with multiple physical and mental exercises. At the same time creates a safe space for employees to socialize and bond with their peers. Thus, it's a tool you can use to boost employee morale, productivity, and overall happiness in your organization.