Office Breakroom Etiquette

The office break room is ideally meant to be an oasis, allowing people to get away from their work stress and enjoy some friendly banter. But, unless we're living an idyllic world where people are respectful of everyone around them, this almost never happens. To ensure peace in the office break room, here are five rules you should never break:

Clean up after yourself:

Remember, those dishes don't clean up themselves, and neither do you have your mom around to do it for you. Put used utensils in the dishwasher after you're done. Pick up wrappers and empty cups. Wipe up spills and splatters if you've caused them.

Do not eat or drink food that is not yours:

This is probably what upsets people the most. Do not steal someone else's food unless you want them to add something nasty to their food, as bait for the thief.

Refill the coffee mug:

If you've drained the last drop of coffee from the mug, remember to brew some for your colleagues. And if there's no coffee, remind the person in charge of office supplies to replace them.

Keep super smelly food items out of the office break room:

Please do not be inconsiderate enough to heat tuna fish sandwich, or something with an equally strong smell. Your right to heat (or eat) is trumped by your colleague's right not to be made uncomfortable while working.

Take a break:

The break room is for you to take a break from work. Don't continue discussions about work within the space, or spoil someone's time while they're enjoying their lunch asking work related questions. As tempting as it may sound, please do not indulge in office gossip lest you want to end up getting busted.

Remember to remove leftover food from the fridge:

Don't use the fridge as a storage area. If you bring in food, remember to throw it, or take it back home at the end of the day. The fridge isn't a science lab for you to experiment with various molds and fungi.

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