First of all, I wanted to say thanks to Mark and Mike for such a great site, I have certainly learned a lot from your podcasts and forums, and I hope that Manager-Tools has a long, successful life!
I have been in the position of team leader at a reasonably large IT Helpdesk for just about a year and a half, long enough for the staff to view me as a manager, rather than a peer and I really, really enjoy my job. (except performance management. I don't know if I'll ever enjoy that aspect. :( )
We have recently acquired a "breakout room" due to another business unit moving elsewhere, and I was wondering what the general consensus is on managing such a thing. I want for my staff to enjoy their jobs, it's a very technical role, and sometimes quite frustrating and we've tried to reduce staff burnout over the last couple of years in an effort to retain the great people that we have. I think that, done properly, a breakout room will give our people an outlet to vent some of that steam, in a non destructive manner and make this job more enjoyable for everyone in the long run.
I have a feeling I am going to come up against some opposition from my management with regards to making the breakout room "fun" and wanted to get some input from the managers here as to - do you have a breakout room, what is it's purpose other than a table and some chairs in a room for people to lunch at, how do you manage people using (or abusing) the room?
A couple of ideas I had were to repaint it some colour other than the drab colour it is now, and put a screen (not a TV, this has some political implications) and a game console like a playstation, some magazines and books and card games and whatnot in there, and make it a pleasant place for people to use it. And then make it available for small team meetings and other use during non lunch and morning/afternoon tea times.
What do you think?