Organize and schedule short “water cooler” breaks remotely with colleagues and friends


My Role



4 Weeks
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe XD
Google Forms

The Problem Space


The pandemic has forced many organizations to shift their employees from working in office to working at home. This change has demanded companies and their employees to adapt to the new workflow and environment. Although there are many benefits from working at home, after prolonged durations issues can arise. One of the largest problems facing people working at home is the feeling of isolation and disconnect from colleagues and the business.
How might we make users working from home feel more connected to one another and motivated by the work they do?
Considered Constraints:
  • Time
  • Technical Capabilities
  • The Pandemic

My Approach


My research consisted of user interviews, contextual inquiries and an online google survey targeted to capture a large range of potential users with different goals and behaviors. The following is the result from my research:

User Interviews

The purpose of these interviews was to see help determine behaviors of different users and to understand what users' primary pain points were when working from home

The interviews revealed a reoccurring theme, this allowed me to narrow down my problem space to the disconnection users feel from colleagues outside of a professional setting
Key Insights
  • Management individuals have noticed a lack of breaks and detreating company culture
  • Individuals have felt a strong disconnection from peers and the company

Contextual Inquiries

The purpose of this research was to understand the current process of how remote employees take breaks.
Key Insights:
  • Individuals often checked their phones within the first minute of being on break
  • People checked social media, news, or entertainment frequently
  • Individuals frequently used the time to communicate with friends
  • People used the time to do light exercise or move around away from their work space


The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into potential users’ habits and feelings towards taking breaks at home and in general.
Key Insights:
  • Individuals usually like to take a break after completing a task or after several hours/time of work flow
  • Individuals breaks from work at home compared to the office have changed significantly due to:
  • Individuals frequently used the time to communicate with friends
  • Do not know how often other colleagues are taking breaks and don’t want to be considered slacking in comparison
From there I was able to identify the major pain points

Who is this for?

Target Persona

After my initial research conducted with a large range of individuals with different goals, behaviors, and demographics I was able define a narrow target persona this product would be best suited for:
  • Tech and business professionals working from home who have an active social work life
  • Individuals who want to be social but are isolated due to external conditions
  • Individuals who would like to be more organized and efficient with their schedules and break times



Through conducting primary research I wanted to confirm my assumption to why this problem space was important and why a product solution would be useful.
What interviewed individuals said about breaks:
"Clears your mind and rewards you for previous job done"
"it refreshes your mind and you can get away from your workspace"
"Taking short breaks throughout a shift is important in my opinion because it allows for me to just get away from work and relax for a little bit instead of feeling overwhelmed for a couple-few hours straight."



After collecting research and identifying isolation as the a main user problem I brainstormed how I could solve this issue.

After ideating I concluded to solve the users pain points I needed to re-imagine and adapt how users naturally take breaks when in the office and translate that same process to work virtually.

Next I would need to ideate what motivates a user to take a break and also what activities or events users enjoy while on break.
  • Other Friends or Colleagues on Break
  • Completing Tasks
  • Long Durations in Work Flow
  • Physical Exercise
  • Food, Drinks, Coffee
  • Social Communication
  • Entertainment + News

User Flow Map

In order to visualize the processes within the app I created a user flow diagram

Lo-Fi Wireframing

I struggled the most to create the home screen of this app but after user testing several iterations, I was able to evolve my design where I am confident that it is effective and user intuitive.

Visual Design

Design System

I created a working design system to create a strong visual identity and be more efficient when designing.

Final Solution

Break creates an organized space for colleagues to interact, while remaining productive and motivated during working hours. The application helps to establish an area where employees can feel comfortable and appropriate to have casual interactions with colleagues in their down time throughout the work day.

Easy & Organized

Users are able to quickly organize breaks around their work schedule or when they feel they need one.
Key Insight to Key Features:
  • From performing user interviews I found majority first checked their own schedule before planning or considering taking a break from work

Keeps Colleagues Connected

Users can stay connected with colleagues through the integrated contact screens. Individuals also have the ability to create social groups within the app. Users can share when they are on break and their status. Users can also share interests within their profile to help promote communication and conversation starters.
Key Insights to Key Features:
  • User surveys revealed users like to know how many of their colleagues are on break
  • When talking with users they expressed they have certain people or groups they will take normally breaks or socialize with

Fast Communication

Break has a fast and simple ping notification similar to a beeper. Users can quickly let another colleague they would like to share a break together with one tap. Break would simultaneously create the best medium of contact both users favor.
Key Insights to Key Features:
  • Through testing it reveled users had already a primary application for communication.
  • Users also mentioned it was much harder to meet new colleague virtually

Usability Testing

Key Findings
  • Some individuals struggled to know how long they have been on break
  • Users wanted to plan a break for later
  • Users expressed interest in linking external calendar
  • Added a visual cue on calendar
  • Added schedule break function
  • Added schedule break function

The Outcome


I was able to perform in person user testing with 5 individuals. The tested users enjoyed the ease and simplicity of the app. They really liked the ability to know when colleagues were on break. Majority of tested users wished a system like this was implemented into their at home work communication systems such as slack or Microsoft teams.

In real application I believe this app would be best suited as an extension of pre existing company communication systems. This would streamline the process for users and create a better experience for individuals which could be hosted within a single tool.