The Ultimate Break Room Etiquette

Break rooms are a necessity in the office. A break room is a space for workers to relax, get a mini-me time or enjoy a coffee or lunch with co-workers. Having a break room in the office improves efficiency and increases employee satisfaction in an organization. However, the break room shouldn’t be a place full of litter, dirty dishes and ill-mannered workers who don’t possess the etiquette to clean up and keep the break room a comfortable spot.

It is for this reason that organizations have break room etiquettes, rules and specific policies to keep the break room clean and cosy. Some of the things to keep in mind while considering break room etiquette include:

break room etiquette

Casual business team eating together in the office

Ultimate Break Room Etiquette

Noise Policy:

The break room is a place to relax and unwind from work. Some people may want to have some quiet time and some others to sit over for a conversation with their co-workers. As such, it is necessary to keep the break room a noise-free zone. The break room can be divided into two areas- one as a silence zone and the other for mini conversations.

Cleanliness Zone:

Rules should be put in place to keep the break room clean and tidy. No one wants to relax in a dirty environment, be it in the office or at home. As such, after using it for coffee breaks or lunch, it is necessary to keep the break room tidy and neat.

Labelling food:

A fridge or a pantry is necessary for a break room to store food. As there will be a variety of food items and snacks for different employees in an organization, the food items must be labelled and appropriately organised to avoid employee conflict or losing them to someone else.

Work Talk: 

Everyone loves work talk, be it gossips about other office colleagues or the new project a person has bagged. A break room is to get away and unwind from work, not to come and discuss it. People should not enquire about work in a break room; work is best over emails, meetings and discussions after the break.

Fresh Coffee:

Everyone loves fresh coffee; it is one of the primary reasons employees scurry to the break room. Coming to the break room and finding an empty coffee pot is the worse feeling an employee can get. It not only dampens the mood but increases their task of brewing more coffee rather than quickly getting their cup and going back to work. Refilling the coffee pot is necessary for every worker once it is empty.

Task Management:

The break room requires cleaning and maintenance once in a while. Tasks like cleaning the fridge or the microwave can be done by every employee once every week. Making a chore sheet and distributing tasks not only keeps the break room cleaner but also makes task management and handling efficient.

Realistic Rules:

An organization must keep practical and enjoyable break room etiquettes. One cannot be completely silent in a break room- expecting this from an employee will make the person avoid the break room at all. It is easier to keep simple break room rules and policies to make it a loved place by all.

An organization must enquire about the break room maintenance and feedback from the employees. This will help the organization to be aware of employee preferences and to get inputs about their efforts. It is necessary to make the break room rules and policies clear to the workers. If the workers are not aware of what is expected of them, things will go haphazard, and the break room will be a mess! So put a proper break room etiquette display so that every employee gets to see it and knows what is acceptable and not acceptable in the break room.

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Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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