Social Spaces That Work Throughout the Workday

Social Spaces That Work Throughout the Workday Buildings (08/01/17) Feit, Justin; Penny, Janelle

Far from distracting employees, breakout areas and spaces for socialization throughout an office or office complex can actually improve productivity. A casual chat over lunch can spark an idea. For years, business owners did not want to waste square footage on such things as plazas, multi-purpose rooms, break areas and other socializing spaces. They wanted to see how many bodies they could fit in a given work space. David Chason, a partner at AEI U.S. Studio, states, "It has come full circle in the last six to eight years. Designers have always put that into our designs, but clients and business owners are now listening to that and using square footage in a different way that affects retention of employees." For those lacking such space currently, thoughtful renovation can turn a humdrum break room into a space that achieves maximum use throughout each workday.

To this end, the article's author details three tips to draw people in. One, pay particularly close attention to cafe and breakroom design. "Food draws everyone together," states Amy Klinefelter, an interior designer for Gresham, Smith and Partners. "Providing large gathering spaces to collaborate and eat together is a great way to draw in younger employees and retain them longer." Two, instead of a break room, look at social spaces with multiple functions in mind. Chason describe such areas as the "town center" around which the workplace revolves. Finally, consider white noise or other acoustic solutions for open and common areas to keep socialization from distracting or bothering employees in nearby workspaces.

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