Break room etiquette: 6 ways to keep the peace

Break room etiquette: 6 ways to keep the peace


Break room etiquette: 6 ways to keep the peace

We’ve all been there. You walk into your break room to get your lunch and it hits you. What in the world is that smell?

It’s not the first thought you want to have when you are about to eat.

Reheating last night’s leftover fish and burning popcorn in the microwave are just two of the major faux pas co-workers commit in shared break spaces.

Wait, that was you with the shrimp lo mein?

Better keep reading for a few other tips to help you avoid getting the stink-eye from your co-workers.

  • Share the fridge. Bring only what you plan to use each day. Don’t hog the space by stowing a week’s worth of groceries.
  • Keep it clean. Throw out your trash, wipe off counters and inside the microwave if needed. If you must leave a container soaking in the sink, remember to come back for it. Oh, and wash the coffee pot once in a while.
  • Limit shop talk. Note the “break” part of break room. Whether you’re just standing in front of the microwave for 60 seconds or sitting down to eat, this isn’t the time to corner a co-worker about your project. Instead, ask about weekend plans or compliment a new haircut.
  • Thou shalt not steal. Really, do we even need to say this? Mistakes can happen (many yogurt cups look alike) so label your items if need be. Jot your initials on the yogurt lid with a sharpie or use a distinctive lunch bag to eliminate a misstep.
  • Use the space creatively. If your break space is fairly large it might be a nice change of venue for a small team meeting outside peak lunch hours. Still, be aware of who’s around you and save confidential conversations for more private settings.
  • Fill the coffee pot. No fair pouring the last cup and sneaking off quietly. If you drink it, you make it.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you head to the break room for your lunch or a snack.