Break Room Etiquette

Ten Office Break Room Rules

Posted by Liz Taylor Jan 20, 2013

Working in an office can pose many challenges, particularly in the break room. While it is not always simple, keep in mind these ten office break room rules to live by.

  1. Don't eat someone else's food from the break room refrigerator or pantry. It may look delicious, but it isn’t yours.
  2. Clean up after yourself. You may have a spouse at home to do this for you, but this is work. The break room does not clean itself and it’s not fair to expect your coworkers to take care of you. This includes food that exploded in the microwave and any spills or crumbs you left behind on the counters and tables. Don’t forget to wash your dishes and make sure the sink is clean for the next person.
  3. Throw away any expired yogurt, salad dressing or food that you haven’t eaten.
  4. Make a fresh pot of coffee if the current pot is low. There is nothing worse than the smell of burnt coffee at 3 pm.
  5. Take the whole cookie. Nobody wants to eat food that has been handled by somebody else. Either take the whole thing or split it with someone else on the spot.  
  6. Let your coworkers eat in peace. The break room is a place to unwind and take a break. The last thing people want is to have a coworker ask a question about a current project or work email.
  7. If you are using the microwave, make sure you take your food out as soon as the session is complete. Many other coworkers are hungry for their lunch and don’t want to wait for you to finish your email or restroom break.
  8. Don’t gossip. The break room is not the place to share juicy details about your weekend or talk about a new attractive coworker.
  9. Leave the seafood and smelly food at home. Leftover fish becomes rather pungent and smelly once reheated. Also, if you are bold enough to pop popcorn, make sure it doesn’t burn.
  10. Refrain from any grooming, nose blowing, coughing or sneezing in the break room. Coworkers want to enjoy their meal and don’t want to have to worry about catching germs from you.   

Happy break time!

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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