By Employees, For Employees
Our Hopkinton location did not have a dedicated break room for employees.
An interdepartmental team of employees was tasked with designing and coordinating the construction of a brand-new, state-of-the-art break space.
Employees now enjoy an enclosed, designated break room featuring amenities such as air conditioning, heating, a café area and an interactive media wall.
Hopkinton's New Break Room
When an employee takes their lunch break, where can they go? Some may take a quick trip to a local food joint or a leisurely walk outside, while others might head to their workplace’s break room to socialize and relax.
Our Hopkinton employees didn’t have that last option, as the facility historically lacked such a room—prompting us to take action in 2020. We tasked an interdepartmental team of employees to design and coordinate the construction of a brand-new, state-of-the-art break space. Now, employees have a dedicated, closed-off area that reflects their needs, as it was created not just for them, but by them.
“Because we handled it in-house, I think it has the extra touch,” said Jason Bourgoin, the location’s safety and maintenance manager and a 21-year Hutchinson employee who helped bring the break room to life. “Every little detail was looked at and decided on by us, not some interior designer who did not have a connection to the space like we do. We’re not architects by trade, but I think we know more than anyone what the plant wants and feels they need.”
Out with the Makeshift Break Space
In the past, employees at our Hopkinton location were taking breaks near a wall that was completely open to the production floor. While this space had vending machines and some seating, its lack of boundaries meant it was also hot and noisy.
Bourgoin said management had been talking about creating a break room for over a decade, but it wasn’t until recently that they decided to go forward with the idea. To make sure the break room represented employee needs and wants, management appointed Bourgoin and Catherine Collard, a human resources representative, to spearhead the project.
“We solidified a plan at the end of 2020, beginning of 2021,” Collard said. “By late summer, we were in motion.”
While construction on the new room was taking place that fall, tents were set up outside in the parking lot as an interim break area. Power was routed to these tents, so employees had cooling, heating, and vending machines.
“It did the trick,” Collard said. “But it really put a time crunch on our team to get as much done as possible so we could get employees back inside before the Massachusetts winter.”
By the beginning of December, Collard said, the new indoor break room was open and fully functional.
In with the New Amenities
Collard and Bourgoin went into their project with a vision. They had created a layout that mapped out exact projected locations of amenities, including a café area, an interactive media wall with four screens for training use and announcements, a sitting area for small meetings and traditional break tables.
“It was designed to be multi-use, which makes it feel a little different, instead of just being a room filled with tables and chairs,” Bourgoin said.
Unlike the old makeshift space, this designated break room is completely insulated and walled off from the production floor, and has air conditioning and heat. And, instead of relying on vending machines, employees can now buy food from an open-market vendor inside the room.
Both Collard and Bourgoin said that employee break rooms, such as the one they helped create, are critical to boosting morale and encouraging internal collaboration.
“I’ve heard soccer games being watched during breaks, people put music on,” Collard said. “You paint some walls, get some new tables, redesign the space and it’s not going to change the world, but it makes people happier.”
Bourgoin agrees. “It makes people want to work here,” he added. “It gives them one more thing to enjoy while being here.”
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