Company breakrooms serve as a retreat for employees. It’s a space to unwind and take a break, whether enjoying your lunch or leisurely reading the newspaper. Breaks throughout the day, especially for lunch, are necessary to keep employees happy and productive. However, even though the breakroom is a place to relax, a few rules still apply to ensure everyone can have a tranquil experience. Here are 6 rules for breakroom etiquette that you should keep in mind when using your company's lunchroom.
1. Keep the Coffee Flowing
Draining the last drop of coffee into your mug in the morning without brewing more for your coworkers might be the worst offense of breakroom etiquette. This rule comes down to politeness and consideration of other coworkers who may be looking forward to their share of free coffee without having to wait for it to brew.
2. Keep the Space Clean
As with any communal space, it’s important to keep your breakroom neat and tidy. Be sure to clean all surfaces and office furniture after dining as others are sure to use it after you, and they won’t want to sit down at a table covered in crumbs or spills. As a rule of thumb, leave the lunchroom as clean as or cleaner than it was when you walked into it so nobody has to clean up after your mess.
3. Freshen up the Fridge
Ensuring that the fridge is kept fresh can be challenging when numerous employees use it to store snacks and lunches. Don’t store anything past its expiration date. Labeling any item with both your name and the date it was stored serves multiple functions: Not only is a labeled item very clearly off-limits to others, but knowing when an item was first placed in the fridge can ensure that expired food doesn’t sit and rot while taking up precious fridge space.
4. Use the Microwave Efficiently
For the sake of others hoping to use the microwave, avoid selecting foods that need to be microwaved for a long time. It’s also best to stay near the microwave so that you can quickly remove your meal from it, allowing someone else to use it as soon as possible.
5. Avoid Super Smelly Foods
In addition to avoiding meals that hog the microwave, it’s also a good idea to consider how strong your meal smells before taking it to work. In an office environment, particularly strong-smelling food can distract other workers and linger in the air for a long time—something that no one will appreciate, be it a good smell or bad.
Follow the Quirky Rules
Every office has its own breakroom rules that reflect the company’s culture. Even if they may be a bit quirky—no popping popcorn in the office or no brewing flavored coffee and regular coffee in the same coffee maker—it’s best to respect these rules and follow them accordingly.