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Unique “Chill Spaces” Offer a Fun Take on Office Design

May 11, 2022

With the rise in remote working, one of today’s top employer challenges is convincing employees to work in-house. So how can you encourage people to embrace the traditional office once again? For itel, the answer was to make its contact center facilities more inviting by designing fun, communal spaces where employees can relax, recharge and socialize. Inspired by Silicon Valley’s campus vibe, itel’s Chill Spaces are turning the boring breakroom on its head, with a uniquely Caribbean take on office design and social spaces.  

Employee Wellbeing Shouldn’t Be Something Companies Only Talk About 

Image of itel employees huddled together, smiling, in one of itel's innovative and colorful break rooms, called Chill Spaces.
itel team members hang out in one of the company's many "chill rooms", where employees can relax, socialize and collaborate.

Even with greater pay, benefits, and paid vacation, younger employees are turning down jobs in record numbers. Why? Because Millennials and Gen Zs are looking for companies who do more than talk about employee wellness. They want to see companies actually live the values they promote. 

“At itel, we believe in the whole well-being of our team members,” explains Veidwattie Samai, itel’s Executive Vice President of Experience. “We not only educate our employees on health and wellness, but we provide access to key services, such as on-site wellness facilities staffed with our nurses, on-site gyms, free health clinics, chill spaces and rec rooms.” 

How well companies adhere to their corporate values, and how authentically they embrace them, will affect everything from the ability to recruit top talent to employee retention.  

Glassdoor’s 2019 survey of over 5000 job seekers found that over two-thirds of millennial workers prioritize culture above salary, with 73% reporting they would not even apply to a company unless its values aligned with their own. Almost the same number would leave a company if its culture deteriorated.

Yet, many employers can miss the tiny details that make up the employee experience (EX). In a contact center space, workplace design must be an essential consideration. However, it’s important to consider not just what happens at the desk, but also, away from it.  

Samai agrees, and explains that, at itel, “everything from our inspiring colors to our stress-reducing designs, quiet spaces and rec rooms, help to create an environment where employees like coming to work and where they feel a powerful sense of pride being at itel.” 

Enter itel’s Chill Spaces – Office Design with Caribbean Flavor 

In the past, contact centers have earned a reputation for sterile, factory floor settings that are purely functional. But itel is looking to differentiate itself as a global competitor through its groundbreaking office design.   

We are deliberately moving away from the traditional contact center. Our production areas provide more spacious workstations, and our buildings all have separate chill spaces and beautifully designed communal areas that look and feel great.

Melissa Von Frankenberg, Chief Marketing Officer and head of Environmental Design

itel’s chill areas offer employees somewhere comfortable to relax and unwind during shifts. More than that, the look had to be uniquely “itel”, with a fusion of organic and modern touches.  

Image of itel's newest Chalmers building, just launched in May 2022, inside their employee chill rooms, which have a fun, Caribbean vibe with colorful murals and decals depicting traditional fruits and vegetables of the region.
In itel's newest Chalmers building, just launched in May 2022, employee chill rooms take on a fun, Caribbean vibe with colorful murals and decals depicting traditional fruits and vegetables of the region.

Many chill spaces are decked out with either vibrant murals or living botanical walls that allow people to be transported into a relaxing and fun headspace.  

Plenty of entertainment options are on-hand, with Billiards tables, table tennis, foosball, televisions and free Wi-Fi. Most chill areas come with kitchenettes, vending machines and coffee/tea stations.  

Image of two itel employees playing foosball in one of the CX company's iconic Chill Space rec rooms. A colorful mural with palm trees is seen in the background.
itel agents using their break time to catch up on some foosball. Behind them, one of itel's iconic murals, in bright sunshine yellow, with depictions of palm trees swaying in the breeze - part of the company's mission to create engaging, inspirational work environments and social spaces.

In their Jamaica offices, the concept was to bring the outdoors-in, with long stretches of faux grass and eclectic arrangements of picnic tables, modern patio furniture and plush lounge chairs, where people can stretch out and get casual with co-workers. 

In the new 90,000 square foot Chalmers building in Kingston, set to open later this month, the same vision is taken a step further. Designed as textured, rolling hills of indoor faux grass, these park-like spaces are punctuated by chairs that look like natural rock formations and beach-inspired artwork of tumbling waves and cascading waterfalls, hinting at Jamaica’s captivating natural landscapes. 

Image of one of itel's "Chill Spaces", in their newest, landmark customer experience center in Kingston, Jamaica. Rolling hills of faux grass, potted trees, botanical walls, and chairs made to look like natural stone formations make these unique employee break rooms a standout feature of the company's employee-centric environment.
Rolling hills of faux grass, potted trees, botanical walls, and chairs made to look like natural stone formations make these unique employee "chill room" in itel's latest landmark building in Kingston, Jamaica, a standout feature of the company's employee-centric environmental design.

While in St Lucia, another of itel’s sites, employees can take advantage of modern offices that feature indoor rock gardens, clusters of soft lounge chairs, and quiet corners for people to have a chat, read or rest.  

Image of itel's facilities in Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean. Two employees chatting in one of their many Chill Spaces, which feature quiet communal areas for employees to collaborate, indoor rock gardens and plush seating that come in vibrant colors representing the island's landscape.
In Saint Lucia, itel employees can chat and collaborate in one of their quiet "Chill Spaces", featuring beautiful indoor rock gardens and plush seating that come in vibrant colors representing the island's landscape.

Employees can also enjoy one of St Lucia’s outdoor chill spaces, with covered eating areas where people can grab lunch while taking in fresh air and breathtaking views of blue skies and swaying palms.  

Or they can settle in at the indoor lunchroom, which features a spacious dining area, full kitchen, beautiful organic accents, such as wooden tables, and a visually stunning mural, complete with matching seats that reflect the island’s national colors.  

Image of itel's facilities in Saint Lucia. The spacious indoor cafeteria features colorful murals, organic touches like wooden tables and indoor rock gardens, a full kitchen, and smaller clusters of seating on the terrace above.
At itel Saint Lucia, the spacious indoor cafeteria features colorful murals, organic touches like wooden tables and indoor rock gardens, a full kitchen, and smaller clusters of seating on the terrace above.

 Purpose-Built, Like Everything itel 

When remote working options are luring away contact center workers, those of us who still need in-house operations will need to find new ways to make the workplace more exciting. 

That’s why, at itel, we create physical and virtual spaces that are purpose-built, with office designs that maximize employee safety and comfort.  

Veidwattie Samai, Executive Vice President of Experience

The design of itel’s chill spaces was intentional. It was a matter of taking care of employees and safeguarding their mental health.  

A Cornell University study found that 87% of contact center agents reported high levels of stress, that if unchecked, could lead to worker fatigue or burnout.  

"We recognize that working in customer service is not always easy,” says von Frankenberg. “Agents on the front line feel a lot of pressure to meet customer needs, solve problems and maintain a solid pace of work. Making spaces available where they can ‘chill’ and take a break during their day helps them to manage their mental and emotional health. It keeps them engaged, inspired and happy.” 

For itel clients, there is an added benefit. Companies with high employee engagement experience 10% higher customer ratings, a 21% increase in profitability and demonstrate 17% more productivity, a secret that itel has figured out. 

That’s why the work environment is so critical. It affects everything from mood to motivation. And as itel moves forward, the company will continue designing workplaces that prioritize employee health and wellness.  

Learn more about our innovative workplaces and highly engaged company culture here.

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