02 April 2021
Curated by: Redazione IVM

Relaxation areas for employee productivity

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Nowadays, there is a tendency to increasingly assign proper importance to designing and constructing areas dedicated to relaxation within the office space. This is a very topical theme that also touches on particularly important aspects in terms of well-being, productivity, and a sense of belonging. We will begin with an overview of these spaces.

 

What are relaxation

A relaxation area is a space in an office in which people can take a break and recharge their batteries. These areas provide a full range of comforts and this is why it is commonly believed that only large-scale multinational companies can afford to design offices in this manner.

When, for example, we look at the offices of giants like Google or Apple, we are amazed at the levels of innovation and creativity applied in the creation of their office space. Psychological states have a significant influence on a person’s creativity, and this is why these large-scale companies have chosen to create the best possible conditions for ensuring their workers are happy, relaxed and therefore more productive.

Google has:

  • gyms
  • meditation rooms
  • rest rooms
  • massage spaces
  • game rooms for moments of fun between colleagues

Obviously, in looking at these famous names, we are talking about the concept of relaxation being taking to the utmost levels, but what we are trying to express is the principle on which this company philosophy is based. In-company relaxation is not a concept that focuses simply on a place, it is a total philosophy that companies adopt for their employees: that of well-being in the workplace.

All these areas in Google are spaces that allow people to let off steam and have fun before getting back to work between one break and the next. Even if all of this may seem like a waste of time and money, the advantages are much greater than the investment made. Furthermore, promoting this philosophy also means sharing the right way to achieve a balance between working life and mental well-being.

Another important characteristic is that the area needs to be separated from the work area. The main reason is in order not to disturb someone in the middle of an important call or in the midst of a meeting with colleagues and clients. These areas also need to be able to guarantee the right levels of peace and privacy for those looking for a moment of relaxation.

Micro-breaks and precision a work

An article published by the BBC cites an important experiment conducted by two researchers from the University of Sherbrooke in Québec, which shows how taking micro-breaks over the course of the day can help people to concentrate better on their work. The study focused on 16 surgeons, who were asked to follow the outline of a star with their scissors after having carried out a number of operations. Surprisingly, the surgeons who had taken breaks, albeit short ones, over the course of the working day, demonstrated to be seven times more precise than those who had worked non-stop. This example is a clear demonstration of the importance of taking breaks and briefly setting aside work.

 

How to design a relaxation area

What are the fundamental elements for a relaxation area? The furniture chosen will obviously depend on the budget allocated and then on the physical space available.

However, we can generally say that a relaxation area always needs to have:

  • a small kitchen or food preparation area
  • a table with chairs or stools for sitting down and eating, or for having a coffee with colleagues
  • sofas and armchairs for reading a newspaper or book

The area can be enhanced with bookshelves, a stereo for listening to music and even a TV for a moment of distraction. In order to allow employees to let off steam and have a little fun, the most innovative companies also have:

  • pool tables
  • ping-pong

Any other points to remember?

Never forget to plan this particular area in a space that is most exposed to natural light. A well-lit environment creates a sense of peace and tranquillity, promoting relaxation and refreshment.

Furthermore, selecting the right colours is also important. It is better to favour light, neutral colours that express calmness and well-being, thus creating a pleasant atmosphere.

 

The advantages of having a relaxation area in the office 

Whoever thinks that productivity means spending the entire day in front of a computer without ever losing concentration is stuck in the last century. People need to let go of traditional concepts linked to performance in a company. Concentration is in fact gained by doing the opposite; stepping away for a few moments from what one is doing and changing activities. What is the best way to switch off? By changing rooms and trying to relax a little. We will now illustrate all of the advantages related to the concept of relaxation spaces in the office.

The correlation between relaxation areas and productivity.

The greatest advantage is undoubtedly with regards to company performance. The presence of a space in which to relax in the office could be the key to getting the most out of employees.

There is a particularly strong correlation between employee well-being and company productivity. Relaxation areas have a heavy impact on companies. Everyone knows that a happy employee is a productive employee.

The advantages go in both directions. On the one hand, the company gains in terms of performance, and on the other, employees are less stressed. It is undoubtedly a considerable expense, but it needs to be seen from another point of view, as a kind of business investment. Creating a working environment with a pleasant atmosphere also has sense from a “commercial” point of view.

Taking breaks over the course of the day is therefore necessary in order to maintain high levels of concentration and productivity in the office.

We need to remember that an employee spends an average of 8 hours in the office. Obviously, if the working environment is stressful, it is hard to keep to deadlines and be productive, and the mood of the employees will not help them to do their best.

Relaxation areas satisfy these needs, improving the psychological and physical well-being of employees for increased productivity and performance.

 

Relaxation areas and team relations

As well as allowing people to recharge their batteries, these spaces are fundamental for allowing colleagues to interact more easily. The existence of spaces that promote dialogue allows for a strengthening of relations between colleagues. Spending time together for a chat, however brief, or having a coffee together, significantly strengthens the bonds between team members and helps them to trust each other within the working environment.

To summarise, relaxation areas allow:

  • work-related stress to be released.
  • employees to be happier and more satisfied.
  • for an increase in the productivity of each employee.
  • for relationships within the team to be reinforced.
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