Listening is Creating the Future of Breakroom Designs

Breakroom Design - Fixturelite & Coolbreakrooms

Listening is Creating the Future of Breakroom Designs

Interview with Steve Orlando, Chief Business Development Officer at Fixturelite

Coolbreakrooms sat down with Steve Orlando, Chief Business Development Officer at Fixturelite, to learn more about the future of breakrooms. After building 10,000+ furniture solutions for breakroom spaces, he’s seeing a common trend among breakrooms – and what the best ones look like. In our discussion, we dive into the common qualities among companies investing in their breakrooms, the importance of intentional breakroom design, and the power of listening.

Lounge Space Soft Seating - Fixturelite

How Fixturelite Was Born

Fixturelite was created out of necessity. Before Fixturelite began, founders Steve Orlando and Troy Geis owned a successful vending company in the Phoenix area. They were excited when the micro-market style of providing food and beverages started to rise in popularity. This opened a new world of possibilities for serving employees.

Fixturelite wants to change the conversation to: “How can we invest in the wellbeing of our employees?”

There were limited resources, however, for creating a place to showcase products in a functional yet aesthetically pleasing way. “There was no investment in resources a decade ago,” Steve said. “We unintentionally created Fixturelite to solve that problem. Now, we travel the world and experience other countries and companies that approach the self-checkout store design experience differently from a retail perspective.” Those varied perspectives – combined with Fixturelite’s background in vending and store design – allow Fixturelite to help employers create beautiful, yet functional spaces that delight employees and guests.

Changing the Conversation: From Obligation to Investment

Instead of asking, “What’s the bare minimum we can do for employees?” Fixturelite wants to change the conversation to: “How can we invest in the wellbeing of our employees?”

3D design - Fixturelite

When it comes to companies with successful breakrooms, Steve says there are a few consistent qualities. “They’re generous, considerate, and empathetic.” These companies always understand that “if they invest in a space for the employee, then the employee is going to invest in the company.” The breakroom speaks to the company’s culture and if it falls short, “employees take notice of that.”

Gone are the days of simply stocking snacks and beverages – items likely transferred from vending machines to micro-market shelves – in a designated room. Now, it’s about providing comfortable, inspiring, and inviting spaces to escape, even if it’s only for a micro-break. This desire to separate work time from break time leads to another trend Steve sees: investing in “the third space” at work.

The Power of the Third Place

Hospital breakroom design - Fixturelite

Third places are areas dedicated to community building and social interactions. With the rise in technology, third places have declined and digital spaces have thrived. This does not necessarily help society though. After all, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued an urgent alarm on loneliness in society. One could argue the decrease of third places is contributing to this. Steve embraces the idea of the third place in Fixturelite’s breakroom designs as a way to contribute to emotional well-being at work.

Infusing third places into Fixturelite’s designs means listening to the client and having an intentional approach to breakroom design.

“We build a best-in-class solution that creates a third space for that student, employee, health care worker, and military personnel,” Steve said. We help them “truly detach, recharge, or perhaps even collaborate with people they don’t get to see often.” Infusing third places into Fixturelite’s designs means listening to the client and having an intentional approach to breakroom design.

3D design - Fixturelite

Intentional Design Starts by Listening

Intentional design requires an intentional approach. This means asking the employer a lot of questions! Through listening, Fixturelite develops custom solutions for their retail environments.

Creating a customer-first design means customization.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that wins anymore. It’s about adaptation,” Steve says. “What is the right solution for this space? What is the right solution for this group of people? It’s about more than simply checking the boxes for a breakroom.” With their refreshment services background, Fixturelite can uniquely help company stakeholders at all levels create intentional breakroom spaces. In fact, “more and more location stakeholders, directors, DEI, wellness committees, sustainability members, foodservice managers, etc. are showing up to the table that weren’t part of the conversation a year or two ago,” he said. In other words, top companies desiring a Coolbreakroom are bringing people in at all levels to shape company culture, starting with the breakroom. By listening to the intricate details of the company’s breakroom requirements, Fixturelite helps everyone achieve their goals seamlessly. This collaboration style sets Fixturelite apart. In Steve’s words, “it’s better for everyone!”

Simple questions lead to the best answers for an intentional design. Should it be a warm, cozy space? Should it have an industrial vibe? Should it have walls with diamond-plated sheet metal? (Yes, they actually did that!) Creating a customer-first design means customization.

Three Solutions: One Company

3D design - Fixturelite

Fixturelite’s unique perspective results in a solution everyone is happy with. Steve says, “By focusing on retail methodologies and consumer behavior, we see it from the customer’s perspective. From 10 years of being an operator ourselves, we see it from a supplier’s perspective. After building over 10,000 spaces, we see it from the location’s perspective. We meet these three parties at the table and create a collaborative conversation to get to the best solution.”

An Immersive Experience Through Collaborative Efforts

Hotel Gallery Market - Fixturelite

To create a winning breakroom space, Fixturelite often collaborates with architects, engineers, and design firms. By consulting early in the process, Fixturelite can recommend what is best for everyone involved. This ultimately makes everyone’s lives easier.

Before a single piece of wood is cut, Fixturelite helps clients see how their decisions will impact the breakroom space. Their proprietary 3D breakroom design walkthrough allows all contributors to see the breakroom vision come to life. It helps eliminate any guesswork, creates an immersive design experience, and builds excitement for the exceptional retail environment to come.

Coolbreakroom is proud to partner with Fixturelite. Do you need a Coolbreakroom? Please reach out to us for the perfect solution.