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Make Your Break Room Count

Have you ever considered that the way you set up your office break room can have a material effect on your company’s revenues and profitability?  That’s right, I’m talking about the room that is typically the most undervalued and underappreciated in the office.

Before you send your employees off to the broom closet for donuts, you might want to think twice, because the break room might be the most important room your company has.

 

I know you’re wondering if the break room seriously that important?  The answer is yes, and here’s why:  the break room draws people out of their offices and cubicles, and provides a central gathering place for employees to interact with one another face to face.

 

Although employees do not always discuss work related issues in the break room, the conversation usually will come around to the workplace and even when it doesn’t, employees are still building relationships.  It is kind of like a daily meeting that your employees are actually anxious to attend!

 

Many employers do not take advantage of their break room’s potential simply because they fail to take a few common sense steps to ensure an enjoyable atmosphere.  After all, who wants to go to a disgusting break room?  With a little planning, your break room can be the talk of the company.  Here are some things to think about when planning for a break room:

 

Set up of break room. 

Break room set-ups vary from company to company.  However, there are a few essentials.  First, you’ll need a table or tables and chairs for people to sit while they are eating.  You’ll also need a refrigerator, a sink, a microwave, and basic kitchen supplies like paper towels and dish washing soap.  You may even want to consider buying a set of plates mugs, and silverware to encourage your employees to take a more “green” stance in the kitchen.  Beyond that, the sky is the limit.  Some break rooms contain lounge furniture, but that decision is entirely up to you.  The key is to create an environment that is comfortable and conductive for conversation.

 

Cleaning the break room.

Everyone should help clean the break room.  You need to make it clear that people are responsible for cleaning up their own messes, including the removal of food items from the fridge.  Humorous, concise signage helps, but ultimately people will have to hold each other accountable for keeping the break room tidy and clean.  Even so, you should plan on making the break room a scheduled stop for the cleaning crew.

 

Footing the bill for coffee.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to who pays for the coffee.  Some employers happily provide coffee for their employees as a gesture of goodwill.  Others feel that employees should either pay a nominal fee for a cup of coffee or come up with their own system.  The decision is up to you, but whatever your decision, be sure to factor in how it will be received by your employees.  You may find that a can of coffee is a small price to pay for the benefit of the break room.

 

Who is allowed in the break room?

All employees and staff should be allowed to use the break room during scheduled breaks.  As the owner or manager of a company, it is important for you to spend some time in there too, especially if you are looking for a way to bond with your staff.  However, clients are strictly a no-no.  It is important to remember the break room is a place for employees to get away from customers, not eat with them.

 

By following these simple tips, your break room can become a retreat of sorts for your employees.  The right break room atmosphere will build up your company morale, help foster meaningful relationships and build teamwork.