Your office break room should be a place of peace. It’s a safe place where you can enjoy leftovers, laugh/keke with colleges and check your Facebook notifications. At the same time it only takes one uncouth co-worker to ruin your 30 minute break.
In this article we are talking about office break room rules. Follow all 13 rules that I am about to tell you if you or risk being the latest focus of office gossip.
Clean up the office break room
1. For Pete’s Sake, please clean up after yourself. The most common complaints about office break rooms are probably related to messy co-workers.
When I say clean up I mean:
- Wipe your table after eating
- Throw away ALL your trash
- If you wash your container in the sink do not leave food clogging the drain
2. It’s ok to clean up after your coworkers…on occasion. If you keep a clean office break room others will likely notice and be more mindful of their mess.
3. Take turns cleaning the office break room. Divvy up Friday’s among your coworkers and make plans to clean out the fridge weekly.
4. Be vigilant if you plan on microwaving popcorn. Set a timer. Sit in front of the microwave. Do whatever you’ve got to do, but do not burn that popcorn. Not only does the smell of burnt popcorn stink, but those yellow butter stains in the microwave can also kill your appetite.
Dining in the office break room
5. If you use it up, you need to replace it. Did you pour the last cup of coffee? Well don’t sneak out, instead be a good coworker and fix another pot.
6. Use your brain when taking the last piece of food. Let’s say someone went to Mornings Kolaches and there is only one left. It’s perfectly fine to grab the last kolache with your hand.
Now if you are cutting a cake and others also want a slice, try your best to keep those cruddy keyboard fingers clear of the remaining slices. If you are eating the last slice of cake on a previously full platter, transfer your piece to a napkin and wash off the serving dish.
Conversation in your office break room
7. Don’t talk about WORK WORK. After lunch, you’ve got 4 more hours to complain about “the folks at corporate”. Unless it’s an emergency, keep the conversation light and just enjoy your lunch.
8. Just keep it G in the break room…as in G-Rated. Even if you have a coworker that you share Trump memes with, everyone may not share the same political views. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in the office break room. Because of this you want to steer clear of politics, religion and anything that could be considered controversial or offensive. Despite all that it is still acceptable to bash Dallas Cowboys fans.
9. Be mindful of your cell phone conversations in the break room.
In the past I’ve sat rooms where coworkers spoke on the phone about everything from garnished wages to cheating pastors. While I was actually amused, other’s might not be. If you absolutely must talk about a salacious topic, simply step outside to make take your call.
Other courtesies in the office break room
10. Know your break room’s TV policy. If your employer puts a television set in the lounge, follow any guidelines in place. You may need to keep it on a news station or take turns with the remote. Adjust the volume to keep from interfering with conversation or nearby workstations.
11. Don’t steal other people’s food. Just like that.
12. Groom in the restroom only. It’s important to floss at least once a day, do not do this in the office break room. The same goes for combing your hair, applying makeup or any other type of grooming .
13. Ask your supervisor to establish policies if needed. If difficulties remain in spite of everyone’s individual efforts, you may need to ask your supervisor or human resources department to establish policies for chronic challenges.
Whether it’s 30 minutes or an hour you deserve the chance to relax, enjoy your meal and fuel up to finish you shift strong. Your coworkers deserve the same thing and if you follow these 13 office break room rules you’ll ensure that you won’t make enemies in the office break room.
Did we miss any office break room rules? What are your pet peeves when eating lunch?
Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 10 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans and creating easy to understand community resources on his site HoustonCaseManagers.com. To become a more saucy social worker, hop on his free email list and receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.