Breakout Zones in Offices? They're As Fun As They Sound

The latest buzzword in the office design world is “breakout zones." These exciting new ways of configuring your office space are a reaction to several decades of busy, noisy, open-plan layouts. 

Their purpose is to provide a separate area in your office for employees to work privately, carry out meetings or just relax.

 In short, its a space that is separate from the rest of your bustling workspace used to recharge or complete a specific task. It’s important to note how relevant the word “separate” is here. A breakout zone provides a demarcation between an employee’s regular desk job, and activity that can or should be carried out elsewhere.

These quiet zones must inspire in the employee a feeling that they can retreat – whether it’s to focus on an important project or to simply get away from the buzz of office life.

Let’s take a closer look at why they have become a hot new trend, how they can contribute to your company’s success, and how you can easily create them no matter what your resources.

Breakout Zones Add Needed Flexibility to Modern Office Layouts

There’s much research out there that tells us that open-plan offices are not compatible with employee health and wellness, and in fact drag productivity down.

Nowadays, 70 percent of offices have either low partitions or no partitions, which means that the majority of the United States workforce are operating in conditions that are stressful, expose them to more illnesses and overall create a drain on their mental and physical wellbeing.

Did you know, for example, that workers in open offices take up to 62 percent more sick days? Or that a study carried out by the Humboldt University in Berlin found that once an employee is interrupted – as is so often the case in an open-plan environment – it could take up to 23 minutes to refocus?

These two figures alone show how damaging open-plan working is to both body and mind, especially when there is no alternative offered.

In fact, according to Gensler’s Workplace Index, employees should have a choice between ways of working to achieve the best satisfaction and productivity. This could include separate areas or cubicles, or indeed breakout zones where people can focus in on detailed work or simply switch off from the inevitable background noise you get in an open-plan environment.

What’s more, employees are increasingly speaking up to say that they favor having the option of some quiet space to work. This article by Fast Company quotes a YouGov survey of predominantly open-plan workers which found that:

  • 31 percent of workers have felt inhibited in expressing their real thoughts on calls as they don’t want to be heard and judged.
  • 16 percent feel that their general health has gotten worse while working in an open-plan office.
  • 13 percent of those surveyed said that they have thought about the possibility of leaving their post simply because of the way their office is configured.

For these very compelling reasons, the breakout zone is becoming more and more invaluable.

What Activities Can Employees Do in An Office Breakout Zone?

Breakout zones are perfect for small team meetings, and when just a few people are involved you can avoid taking up the entire conference room.

They also lend themselves to work that requires “brainstorming” or creative input. Just shifting to a different environment can spark that inspiration in employees, and the beauty of the breakout zone is that it is soundproofed – so they can express themselves however they wish!

Breakout zones allow employees to grab some private space to work on projects that require full concentration or seclusion.

As they are soundproofed so you can’t clearly hear conversations outside the zone, they also provide a private space for confidential or personal calls or meetings.

They can also be used as wellness rooms, whether that’s to self-medicate or for mothers to nurse their children. Or they are just as good as a space to mediate, perform some yoga stretches or simply sit back and “zone out”!

How Do Office Breakout Zones Contribute to Staff Success?

If you haven’t already figured it out, there are many ways that breakout zones can help your business:

  • The flexibility of these separate spaces and the respite they bring means happier, more productive employees.
  • They contribute to the health and wellbeing of your workforce by providing a low-stress place to work or to simply take time out.
  • Workers can interact with one another in a different, less inhibited way in breakout zones, encouraging creativity and exchange of ideas.
  • Having the option of a breakout zone alongside your regular office space makes your company more attractive to potential employees.
  • It also shows your clients that you are innovative and forward-thinking, boosting your reputation.

How Can I Create An Office Breakout Zone?

Here’s the good news: you don’t need a separate room or a ton of resources to create a breakout zone. In fact, you can easily create a separate space within your existing office with the help of affordable and versatile Zenbooths.

Zenbooth specializes in providing modular office space which can be used as breakout zones, accommodating up to six people depending on the model you go with.

Check out our Zenbooth Duo. It’s the perfect size for two people and makes an ideal smaller breakout zone. Equipped with a height-adjustable desk, it’s designed to make spontaneous meetings or solitary work easy and enjoyable.

Our bigger model, the Zenbooth Quad, accommodates up to six people. This flexible space can be used for a variety of tasks. There’s ample room for a desk or table, or if you want to use the Quad as a relaxation zone, then you can easily add in some comfortable furnishings.

All our booths are soundproofed to the extent that conversations can’t be heard outside their walls, making them both private and relaxing.

Their full skylight ceilings make them attractive and bright places to work or relax, and they are also equipped with dimmable LED lighting so you have full control over the environment.

The innovative ventilation system in every model circulates a whole booth’s worth of air every minute, keeping things clean and fresh.

All models also come with a power and data unit, electrical and USB outlets and a port for data or telephone cables, so you can fulfil all of your usual office tasks.

Zenbooths also comply with accessibility requirements, an essential feature of any workplace.

Crafted from easy-clean materials and in a maple or white exterior finish with a maple interior, you can fully enjoy these stylish additions in any office.

If you want to know more about creating a cost-effective breakout zone using Zenbooth products, reach out to us today. 

Leave a comment: