26 Best Office Break Room Ideas and Activities For Employees

Home » Resources » Break Room IdeasUpdated: July 18, 2022

You found our list of fun office break room ideas for employees.

Office break room ideas are fun ways to encourage team bonding in communal areas such as break rooms, office kitchens, and employee lounges. For example, bulletin boards, community puzzles, and team lunches. The purpose of these activities is to make it easier for employees to connect and have non-work interactions in these spaces, and ultimately, to strengthen working relationships.

These ideas are examples of indoor team building exercises, getting to know you activities, and community building activities, and are similar to virtual water coolers and office coffee stations.

This list includes:

  • small office break room ideas
  • office break room games
  • break room activities
  • office break room bulletin board ideas

Let’s get to it!

List of office break room ideas

Here is a list of activities and ideas to make office break rooms more inviting and social and to facilitate team bonding in the workplace.

1. Board Game Corner

Board games make excellent de-stressing and team bonding activities. Most folks already know the rules to the games or can learn quickly. Coworkers do not have to know each other particularly well to play the games together, and the activity can be an easy icebreaker. You can stock your break room with a shelf or box full of games employees can play during downtime.

Pro tip: Get travel sized versions of games so that participants can play without taking up too much table space during normal lunches or breaks. Also, be sure to include games playable by as little as two players so that employees do not need to gather a big group to enjoy a game.

Here is a list of team building board games.

2. Coffee of the Week Club

Coffee of the Week Club is a way to spice up employees’ coffee break. Each week in the breakroom, offer a different special blend. For example, maple-flavored coffee, Vietnamese coffee, or a mystery flavor. Adventurous employees can try out the java of the week, and you can post a sheet so tasters can leave ratings and impressions and suggest or vote for future flavors.

Bonus points if you work with nearby roasters to bring in blends from local small businesses.

For similar activities, here is a list of virtual coffee tasting classes.

3. Community Puzzle

Community puzzles are group games that teammates can work on together during free time. For example, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, word searches, and word jumbles. To do this activity, simply pick out a puzzle and leave it on a break room table or hang it on a wall, cabinet, or the refrigerator. Coworkers on break can complete a few clues at a time, or can talk through the challenge together.

Pro tip: To make the activity more collaborative, introduce a rule that each employee can only submit a maximum of three answers, so that teammates must work together to complete the challenge.

Here are lists of team building puzzles and problem solving games.

4. Bulletin Board

There are many office break room bulletin board ideas that can entertain and connect employees. Office bulletin boards are a way to facilitate asynchronous conversation between office mates, and can serve as both a decoration and an interactive activity. Simply hang a board, pick a theme, and encourage employees to add comments and pictures.

Here are some examples:

  • Would you rather
  • Team map
  • Recreate a photo board
  • Costume contest
  • Thank a teammate
  • Truth or dare

Here is a list of more office bulletin board ideas.

5. Question of the Week

Question of the Week is one of the easiest break room activities. This exercise encourages employees to interact, even if not face to face. Each week, post a question on a whiteboard or giant piece of blank paper, and then have employees respond. This activity works best when the prompt is funny or insightful, for example, “what is the best piece of advice that you ever received?” or “what is the most ridiculous purchase you don’t regret?”

For the sake of variety, teammates can take turns thinking up the question of the week. Also, encourage employees to sign their names to their answers so that coworkers can get to know each other better.

For inspiration, here is a list of random questions.

6. Kudos

Kudos was a team recognition activity I used to do at one of my former jobs. Throughout the month, we would write thanks and praise about coworkers and stick the memos in a jar. At our monthly staff meetings, we would read the sentiments out loud. Afterwards the manager would tape the kudos to the kitchen cabinet so that everyone could read the warm fuzzies. This exercise is a way to encourage gratitude and spread positivity in the workplace.

Here are more quick morale boosters for offices.

7. Doodle Board

Doodle boards let employees express their artistic sides and be creative with coworkers. These break room activities are easy to set up. Simply hang or roll in a large white board or a series of smaller white boards and provide plenty of dry erase markers. Then, encourage employees to draw together. You can share a prompt, for example, “draw your most fearsome dinosaur,” or let your employees’ imaginations run wild.

Pro tip: Be sure to snap pictures of the more creative creations for posterity before they get erased or doodled-over.

8. Photo Wall

Photo walls are like a giant family photo album displayed for the whole office to see. This activity helps coworkers get to know each other and breeds a sense of camaraderie in the office. Contributors can post pictures from work events such as Christmas parties and team outings, as well as special events in their personal lives such as weddings, graduations, or births. You can post prompts such as “best Halloween costume ever,” or “my favorite vacation,” or just let employees share special photos. This activity gives breaktakers something interesting to stare at while resting and can help teammates recognize each other and get to know each better.

9. Pet Spotlight

One of the advantages of working remotely vs working in the office is that pet cameos are much more common when working from home and attending Zoom calls. Chances are, coworkers still want to see each other’s pets, but some folks may feel weird outright asking for pooch pics. Pet spotlights help colleagues get to know each other’s furry friends from afar. Simply designate a space in the break room where folks can hang pictures of their pets. Or, assign a “four legged employee of the month” and ask the owner to fill out a profile on their pet, ie, favorite napping spot, favorite toy, favorite treat, etc.

10. Give-a-pep-talk, take-a-pep talk

Give-a-pep-talk, take-a-pep talk provides cheerleading for when folks need a boost to get through the workday. Employees write anonymous notes of encouragement and leave these pick-me-ups in a box or on a wall for other coworkers to find. These sentiments can be motivational quotes, funny compliments, or general words of encouragement. Team members can take as many slips as needed and as frequently as needed, and can put the words back for others to enjoy or take the notes back to their desks.

Pro tip: Managers can pre-load the box with words of encouragement and moving quotes to kick-start the activity.

Here is a list of inspirational quotes.

11. Mini Pen Pals

Mini pen pals is one of the best break room activities for helping teammates get to know each other. In this exercise, participants write each other short notes and leave each other small gifts for a week or two. To do this activity, first hang a sign-up sheet in the breakroom, then announce pairs. Partners can leave postcards and gifts for each other in the community mailbox, and at the end of the activity, the pairs can meet up for coffee or lunch. This exercise is a way to encourage socialization between folks in different departments that might not otherwise meet, mingle, or get much one-on-one time. Not to mention, most folks like receiving a handwritten letter just for fun now and then.

12. Fresh-up fund

Fresh-up funds are budgets to beautify the break room. Ideally, the employer will provide the funds, but employees could also pool money and crowdsource among themselves to save up for desired items. Examples might include fancy coffee makers, tabletop arcade games, or a succulent garden. Employees can make suggestions and vote on improvements. Occasional upgrades make employees feel like the company cares about their experience and wellbeing and can be a nice change to the environment.

13. Team Lunches

Team lunches are one of the best uses of office break rooms. On most work days, employees stagger lunches, however arranging a time for teams to sit down together for a meal creates a sense of community. You can plan lunches for departments, or different employee groups such as parents or runners. Simply choose a day and time, and plan according or rearrange schedules so that employees are free at the same time. Then, gather together, eat, and chat. You can cater in, cook together, or do the lunch potluck style.

Here is a guide to doing team lunches virtually.

14. Breakroom Mixers

Break room mixers are events where teammates can socialize and meet new colleagues. These socials give teammates an opportunity to interact with colleagues they might not otherwise meet or spend time with. You can base the meetup around an activity, for example, bagel breakfasts, ice cream socials, team stretches, or card-writing campaigns. Giving participants icebreaker questions can help get conversations going.

15. Cleaning Competitions

Break room messes can be a source of tension in offices. Some teammates are naturally more tidy than others, and busy coworkers may make messes and forget to clean up. Instead of shaming mystery mess-makers or arguing over whose turn it is to clean, you can turn break room tidying into a contest.

First, make a list of tasks with the frequency for each. Include boxes where staff can initial upon completion. You can make each task worth a certain amount of points, or give teammates an entry into a company raffle for every task. At the end of each month, award a prize to the winner. To keep staff on their toes, you can do a mix of big and small prizes.

Here are more tips for workplace competitions.

16. This or That

This or That is one of the easiest office break room games. Each week, choose two competing concepts. For example, rocket flight vs submarine ride, super speed vs super strength, or prequels vs sequels. Then, rig up an area where teammates can cast votes, like tip jars, or a board where folks can sign their names or hang a picture magnet. At the end of the week, tally the votes and announce a winner. This activity can help folks find common ground (or friendly rivalries) with coworkers.

Here is a starter list of This or That questions.

17. Employee Profiles

Break room employee profiles are a way to make officemates more familiar with each other. These spotlights can be a way to welcome new hires, or a way to share interesting information about employees. To make the profile, pick and contact a random employee, and ask a few fun questions. To streamline the process, you can collect the info via a Google Form. Once you have the material, print out the profile and hang it on a break room board along with a photo.

Here is a list of get to know you questions to use for inspiration.

18. Swap Meet

Swap meets are spaces where coworkers can exchange goods and services. For example, clothes, holiday decorations, and desk knick-knacks. These spaces can serve as mini-flea markets where coworkers can get rid of unneeded and unwanted items, and their co-workers can get useful items for free. This activity encourages recycling and can create a sense of community. Simply designate a shelf, box, or table to act as the swap space, and encourage employees to donate or browse. You can also model these areas after the “free little library” boxes where teammates can borrow items such as tools, toys, or movies, or get surplus like extra baked goods or homegrown vegetables.

For best results, make a rule that an item cannot be in the swap for more than a week, to discourage the space from becoming a dumping ground. As a manager, you can also periodically stock the spot with goodies like company swag or snacks.

19. Special Snacks

A well-stocked snack cabinet is a must for modern offices. To better serve team members’ cravings and nutritional needs, you can hang a sign up sheet so that staff members can request types of office break room snacks to stock. You can also arrange for out-of-the ordinary treats such as imported candy, vegetarian jerky, or a build-your-own monster milkshake bar. Having an unusual or unique treat can be a conversation starter for staff.

20. Mug Cubbies

Break room mugs can be both useful and decorative. Letting employees bring their own special mugs to the office gives the staff a chance to share bits of their personality and taste with their team members. For best results, create an organized space where team members can store and display their mugs, such as a shelf of cubbies or a cabinet with clear doors. Then, assign each team member a cubby and label the square with their name. With this system, there are no squabbles over whose mug is whose, and the display gives teammates a way to learn about coworkers even when those folks are not present in the break room.

Pro tip: Provide some spare mugs anyone can use for guests, new employees, or folks who break or forget to clean their main mugs.

21. Break Room Dates

Break room dates are one of the best small office break room ideas. Often, break rooms cannot accommodate too many team members at once. Team socials may be off the table, however the office can have more 1:1 interactions. Break room dates pair up employees to take breaks together. These pairs can plan to discuss a certain topic or do an activity together. This activity also encourages staff to socialize and bond with different colleagues rather than always taking a break with the same work friend. Plan to pair up employees for break room bonding sessions as often as once a week or at least once per quarter.

22. Workouts

Break room workouts are a way to encourage employees to get exercise to offset the sedentary office life. In large communal spaces with minimal furniture or easily-movable furniture, you can do more intensive workouts like tag, relay races, or kickboxing classes. Otherwise, you can ask employees to swing by the breakroom for chair yoga, a team stretch, or jumping jacks to get staff moving and blood pumping.

Check out more team fitness ideas.

23. Quiet Hours

Sometimes teammates want to take a break from work without talking. Simply sitting quietly together can be a way to bond. Quiet hours are scheduled time slots where the break room is silent. These events make a safe space for introverts or folks feeling overwhelmed. This idea gives coworkers an opportunity to be together without the pressures of making conversation. To set up quiet hours, designate and announce a couple of hours a week that the room should be silent. It helps if there are other spaces where employees can socialize.

24. Crafts

Crafts offer employees a way to unwind and get creative. These activities can also give teammates a task to focus on and something to do with their hands, which can make it easier to make casual conversation with coworkers. You can stock the break room with simple DIY projects. For instance, leave out markers to decorate blank coffee cups, have a pile of adult coloring books handy, or leave instructions for origami animals on the tables. Depending on how crafty your office is, you can leave out some You can clear a space in the break room to display finished projects, or employees can decorate their desks with the creations.

25. Magnets

Most break rooms and staff kitchens include refrigerators. When short on wall space, you can turn the fridge into a blank canvas for team bonding by using magnets. For example, magnetic poetry, alphabet magnets, or asking each employee to bring in a special magnet to add to the fridge. You can also keep magnetic tape handy so that teammates can make their own magnets on the fly. Plus, you can use magnets with employee’s names or photos to do activities like this or that or would you rather, or to cast votes on random questions.

26. DIY photo booth

You can encourage employees to capture and relive breakroom and work memories by setting up a DIY photo booth in the breakroom. Simply make a fun background on a wall or bulletin board, have print-out props handy, and provide an instant camera like a mini polaroid, or encourage teammates to upload smartphone photos to a shared album or folder. As a bonus, you can hang up the photos to decorate the room and add extra cheeriness and friendliness to the space.

Final Thoughts

The break room is one of the most sacred places in the office. These spots can be places for teammates to unwind, recharge, socialize, and brainstorm. Break rooms are welcome to all, and many work friendships begin or flourish in these spaces. These spots create a sense of camaraderie in the office, and leaders can help the process along by arranging fun, interactive activities that give employees a way to connect and get to know each other better. Plus, these ideas can be a fun way to pass the time on break beyond mindlessly scrolling on a smartphone.

Next, check out this list of fun team meeting ideas and this collection of corporate retreat destinations.

We also have a list of the best game room ideas for the office.

FAQ: Office break room ideas

Here are answers to common questions about office break room ideas.

What are office break room ideas?

Office break room ideas are activities that encourage coworkers to socialize and that spark a sense of community between workers. For example, team lunches, kudos, and photo walls. These exercises are also a way to boost morale and company culture within an office.

What are some good office break room ideas for employees?

Some good office break room ideas for employees include question of the week, fresh up funds, community puzzles, and special snacks.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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