A staffroom is an overlooked part of many workplaces. Managers and bosses are often more focused on things like sales, figures, and targets. For some reason lots of employers forget the importance of staff having a safe and secure place they can relax, take a break, and recharge at work. Plus, a staffroom is a place colleagues can get to know each other more. That has to be a good thing when it comes to improving team chemistry and wellbeing.
The first and most important point is to actually have a staffroom. Some employers don’t even have a space for their staff to take breaks. But just by having a space you show a commitment to caring for and supporting your staff. After that, make sure the space supports the success of the team.
There are lots of parts that go into a creating a well thought out staffroom space. Below is a list of things to consider when it comes to creating and maintaining a staffroom that can work for your team(s) and organisation.
There are infinite ways that you can set up a staffroom. But the number one priority about the staffroom space has to be that it is safe. The last thing anyone needs is someone getting injured or killed because of a lack of safety that is completely avoidable. That might seem dramatic, but it does happen. So, be realistic about it.
Alongside safety in terms of importance has to be cleanliness. Two of the most important factors to team chemistry and wellbeing in a shared work environment are safety and cleanliness.
It really is just basic Health and Safety.
Get the appropriate equipment and training in place to ensure that the team can enjoy a safe and clean work environment.
Again a hugely important, but often overlooked, aspect of many workplaces and staffrooms is accessibility.
For example, can a wheelchair fit in the staffroom? Is someone who is blind going to be able to navigate the space? Is there helpful and valuable signage present that can aid deaf individuals? Does the room cater for a whole range of conditions that people can have?
If you want team chemistry and wellbeing to be healthy then people need to be able to truly feel welcome in their staffroom space. Make is accessible to the various needs that people can have.
There are obviously numerous ways to decorate a staffroom space. But like most things it’s smart to consider practicality. Does the colour scheme and design make it difficult for people to actually use the space? For example, a black staffroom probably isn’t the smartest idea. Likewise, a chessboard pattern or rainbow staffroom might make it difficult to relax because people will have a lot of visual information to process.
Colours can impact people in many ways. But colours also have different meanings in different cultures. Learn what you can about the way colour can positively and negatively impact on a space; perception of size, the way it alters mood, and things like how easy it is to keep clean.
Carefully selected furniture is a classic technique that various organisations have used in different ways to get people to engage with a space in a particular way.
Some organisations have used furniture in specific ways to manipulate the habits of people. They do this by doing things like making the furniture uncomfortable so they don’t sit around and stay in a space too long. Likewise, the might make a particular space more comfortable so that people spend more time in it.
At JAWS Job Search the advice would be make your staffroom furniture comfortable so people can relax and take a proper break. Your staff should want to do their job and go back to work. If they are lounging around on the furniture it’s not the furniture that’s the problem, it’s the culture that’s been created.
Natural light and lighting
Natural light is simply what humans are designed to use. Whether you believe in scientific studies or not. Do it for yourself. Spend a week trying to utilise more of one type of light than another. You may well see a positive difference in your wellbeing and that of your colleagues.
Use of space
In short, is the furniture in the staffroom space in the most logical and appropriate positions? For example, have people got to twist awkwardly to get around things? Is the fridge, if you have one, located suitably near the sink or the kettle? Can people share the space comfortably without feeling cramped and on top of each other?
A well organised place allows people to share a space, come and go easily, and not have their flow interrupted.
If you identify something you can change for the better then do it.
How many people can realistically fit in the staffroom?
The chances are not everyone needs to be in there at the same time. If you need a meeting where everyone needs to be there then the staffroom probably isn’t the best place for that meeting anyway. Just be aware of the size of the space and the size of the workforce. Try and find a healthy balance. Maybe stagger break times to account for the size of the room.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of entertainment. If you get the right staff then they won’t take advantage of the fact you may have a pinball machine or tv in the staffroom. They’ll be grateful that they have cool things at work to use when taking a break,
The thing you need to balance is that people like to take breaks in different ways. So, just manage things like noise if you want to ensure a good team chemistry. But in terms of wellbeing; people like to have fun. So, let them.
Maybe, you have a dedicated cleaner. In which case, no worries, just make sure you show them how grateful you are of their efforts.
If you don’t have a cleaner then get a rota. Make it clear to staff that there is a shared responsibility but there is also a dedicated and focused responsibility as well. Doing that means that you can identify the people that basically need more training. They will be the people who don’t keep up their share of the cleaning rota, for whatever reason; laziness, arrogance, fear of being criticised, under skilled. Not everyone doesn’t pitch in because they are lazy or the think a task is beneath them.
Food labelling and storage
We all know that people have been known to steal someone else’s food. They’ve thrown someone’s food away. They’ve left something out by accident. In plain and simple terms people need fuel to function. Set a standard that people can meet and keep everyone happy so they can go about their day and not have to deal with any drama around eating and drinking.
Pictures are cool. People like pictures. But pictures can be highly motivating and demotivating. A plain space can be uninspiring, but a poorly furnishing and decorated space can be equally un-enthusing. Select your artwork carefully.
If everything is working well but you identify that lack of chemistry and wellbeing might be down to the staffroom then do something about it. Turn a different space into the staffroom if it makes sense to do so. If you really have to, and you can afford to, then maybe relocate offices. If you think something is important enough you will do something about it.
Book, CD, DVD swap
People engage in escapism in a while bunch of ways. Building a rapport with someone because you like the same author, or music, or films is a really special bond. So, create those opportunities for your staff to bond. All you need is a shelf and some stuff to put on it. It can’t get much more simple than that.
Noticeboards, Info, and Targets
People simply perform better when they are informed. So, use a noticeboard for work related matters, use it for social matters, use it for raising awareness about something that is deemed important. A well placed and utilised noticeboard can absolutely aid in the complex process of communication.
Put a day, week, month, or year planner up. Use it to promote social events. Use it to spread awareness about wellbeing topics. Whatever you do, just communicate with your team. Team chemistry and wellbeing requires it of you.
Plants help produce oxygen. Oxygen is good for people. Plus, some plants look really cool.
If people feel like they can commit to tending to a plant then get one. If not, then don’t. Stuff dying in the corner of a room is not good for moral.
Creativity and games
Creativity and happiness are at the pinnacle of expression and performance; as long as people are applying it appropriately within context. Otherwise, it’s just a distraction and counterproductive.
Think about it, when someone is ‘doing’ what they are actually doing is ‘creating’. It is a skill that can be improved and transferred. If you someone isn’t creative then provide the opportunity for them to work on it.