Amanda’s top ten - Give Staff a Break

December 07, 2011
Written by
Providing your employees a much-needed break during a busy workday is a great way to keep them creative, inspired and full of the energy they need to get through the day. Here’s how you can help them kick back and relax.

  1. Designate an area – In many garden centres, space is at a premium and there’s not a lot of room left over for a breakroom. Do the best with what you have and make the space as inviting as possible. Position it near a window if you can, to let natural light in, and make the area large enough for a group of people (depending on your staff size) to sit down and take a breather.
  2. Comfort is key – Keep an eye out online for good deals on new or used comfy chairs or couches. Find something that can be cleaned easily and doesn’t take up a lot of space but still provides a little extra cushion.
  3. Supply the necessary equipment – Provide your staff members with the tools to brew up their own coffee or tea, a microwave to warm up meals and a small refrigerator to stash their lunches.
  4. Quench their thirst – Offer up free coffee, tea bags and a water cooler if you can find room in your budget. Even though this is an extra cost to you, it’s a small perk that your team will appreciate.
  5. Keep it clean – Ask your employees to keep the break area spic and span by cleaning up after themselves. Assign an employee or department the task of keeping appliances like the microwave and fridge clean each week and rotate through your roster so everyone takes a turn. You should also supply the necessary industrial hand cleaners to help employees rid their hands of garden dirt and grime.
  6. Make the space cozy – If the breakroom is small, paint it with light colours to open it up. Use hues that are both warm and rich to create a calming atmosphere.
  7. Bring in treats – Once in a while, supply treats for the breakroom. This could mean homemade cookies, a sandwich tray, a potluck or a catered lunch to give employees fuel for a busy spring weekend.
  8. Block off the breakroom – To separate the backroom from the breakroom, install a door or a sliding curtain. This helps provide a true escape from what’s going on in the workplace, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.
  9. Add a few perks – Outfit the break area with plugs or extension cords so employees can listen to their MP3 player or charge their cellphone. If you have an old TV or laptop you can spare, let employees use it during break to catch up on what’s happening in the outside world.
  10. Take it outside – During the summer months, set up a picnic table or a few chairs out back (in an area customers can’t see or access) so staff can enjoy the nice weather on their break.

Amanda Ryder is editor of Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery and can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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