Break rooms should be a place to refresh your employees to make them ready to take on the rest of their work day; but a break room can sometimes be a huge source of stress if it is poorly maintained. Here are a few problems that may arise in your break room, along with a simple organization solution to each.
A poorly organized break room will always make it difficult for employees to keep things tidy even if they have good intentions, especially if there aren’t rules or signage prominently displayed. Every area should be labeled specifically, and specific rules should always be noted in signage (i.e. “No metal in the microwave,” “All food containers should be sealed,” etc.) No employee property or documents should remain out in the open between breaks or after work.
If items remain out at the end of the work day frequently, establish a “lost and found” bin in your office to encourage employees to take better care of their belongings.
- Workplace theft
Theft in the workplace, especially between coworkers, can be a complicated problem. This can be a particular problem in the break room, since it is a common area for all employees with heavy traffic. But most crimes can be deterred, and to do your part, provide each employee a secure place to store their belongings, documents, and equipment. Storage lockers, personal file drawers, and drawers may be provided and should be secured with locks.
If food is going to be anywhere in a work environment, it’s likely going to be found in the break room. Naturally, any unwanted guests are most likely going to be found in the break room. Pests in the workplace are more than just unsanitary, since they can also be incredibly demoralizing to workers. Prevent pests by only allowing food in very specific labeled areas, and make sure these areas are swept and scrubbed regularly. Make employees accountable for their cleanliness.
Any spills should be cleaned the moment after they occur. Avoid harsh pesticides in these areas unless they’re absolutely necessary, since the fumes can affect your employees and, in the worst case, contaminate food.
- Chemical contamination
While chemical contamination is a serious problem in any part of your area, it’s the biggest health hazard in the break room, where chemicals might come into contact with food. Keep cleaning supplies in a secure out-of-the-way area, preferably in a container raised off of the ground. Your policy should be that any chemicals used in the area should be immediately returned after usage. Provide the room a few warning cones to prevent slippage or accidental contamination with anything dropped.
All chemicals should be kept in their original containers with labels intact, and the directions should always be consulted by your employees whenever they are used. If you find unexplained water anywhere, look for water leakages, which could become a huge contaminant.
Following these tips, you’ll provide a more worry-free break room so that it can do what it was meant for: refreshing your employees so they can come out looking and performing at their very best.
James Anderson is a freelance writer raised in West Virginia who enjoys the great outdoors. When he isn’t writing professional organization and business advice, he enjoys camping and hiking with his wife. He currently writes for School Lockers, a storage locker provider.