It would come as no surprise to me to hear that most of you do not feel your current break room is conducive to the purpose of taking a break… that is, if you even get a break!
Most of the time, breaks consist of running into a 4x4 room, taking two bites of a sandwich, eating three chips, and taking a few slurps of a beverage only to find someone is chasing after you into the break room where you thought you could escape for two minutes -- wrong! As soon as you start to dive into some much needed nutrition, you hear the words, “Your next patient is here” or “Mr. Leaky just pulled out his IV.”
I think one of the biggest problems with break rooms is that they are too close to the work environment, although most of the time that's unavoidable, due to space limitations. So if you can’t change the location, maybe you can make changes within the space itself?
The first step to having a true oasis for a break room is cleanliness: Why do people have a difficult time cleaning up after themselves at work? Second, remove all medically related mandatory reading on bulletin boards and book shelves. This is supposed to be a relaxing environment for staff, not a classroom. Perhaps replacing medical literature with recipes, magazines, and tawdry thrillers is a better option.
Lastly, I must say that having a television in the break room is questionable. People will not agree on TV programs, and most people are stuck watching “reality” shows. Reality TV is right outside your break room door, people -- how much exposure do we really need?
I’m sure there are other ways to make a break room environment more conducive to relaxation, such as mood lighting, ergonomic chairs, music, and a cappuccino bar. You could try putting in a request for these items, but the only thing you’ll probably get in return is a chuckle.
So I ask you, what is your ideal break room?
I would like to add one more thing: If you are one of those people who prefer to take a nap on your break, wonderful, but if you snore, not so wonderful for the rest, who are seeking out a relaxing environment.