HAPPY EMPLOYEES are productive employees. And when it comes to your employees,
little things can make a big difference.
Creating an employee break room is a small
perk that can help refresh minds, build
friendships and boost your bottom line. Here
are some steps to help you create a functional
and affordable employee break room.
Find space. A separate room is ideal,
but if space is at a premium, start with a simple divided-off area (out of customers’ view)
where employees can get away from their
desks to eat lunch or just relax.
Establish kitchen convenience. If
you have the space and money, create a break
room with the convenience and coziness of a
home kitchen. Add a refrigerator, freezer and
microwave to encourage employees to pack
their lunches. Water coolers, coffee pots, disposable dinnerware supplies and vending
machines are nice extra touches. Establish
basic break room etiquette (see sidebar) to
keep your break room clean, stocked and free
of moldy, unidentifiable food.
Set the mood. In addition to serving as
a dining room, a break room should be a
place where employees can escape from the
noise and stress of work. They should leave
the area feeling re-energized, recharged, and
ready to tackle their next project. Paint the
room a bright, cheery color that is different
from the rest of the office to help change the
scenery. Hang a bulletin board to post
announcements and memos and for employ-
ees to post personal signs and ads. Subscribe
to trade journals and news publications so
employees can read about the competition
and current affairs during their downtime.
Provide food for thought. Providing
food and beverages lets employees quickly
boost their energy during the workday. One
economical option is to purchase snacks and
beverages in bulk. To encourage a healthier
working environment, provide nutritional
snack options such as granola bars, micro-
wave popcorn and dried fruits. Place them in
a basket or container for employees to pur-
chase using the honor system. Have a change
box where employees can drop their money
on the spot, or make a tally sheet so employ-
ees can mark each time they take something.
If you have the funds, consider providing
free snacks and beverages. Just stocking a few
bulk containers of snacks or providing a bag
of bagels every Monday morning can make a
Be the host with the most. If you
have frequent business meetings, purchase
glass coffee mugs and beverage glasses to
serve your important guests properly.
With a few amenities, you can easily create a break room that offers a welcome respite
for employees during the workday. C
Gimme a break!
Creating a workplace oasis
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouse and Costco.com carry a
variety of items to stock your break room,
including disposable cups, dishes and cutlery; cleaning supplies; soft drinks, coffee
and snack foods; Lifetime folding tables and
chairs; and small appliances.
Break room etıquette
MOST PEOPLE know that the break
room’s golden rule is to leave things the
way you found them. Here are some
general guidelines to keep it a happy
and healthy place.
JUPI TER IMAGES
• Durable and easy-to-maintain furniture is important for an employee
break room. The tables and chairs
should be easy to clean since frequent
spills and splatters are a given when
food is involved.
• Establish a weekly rotating cycle of
cleaning the refrigerator and freezer.
If everyone uses it, everyone cleans it.
• If you emptied it, refill it. If you used
the last paper towel, put out a new
• The first person to want coffee makes
coffee. Make more if you empty the
pot. The last one to leave the office
turns the pot off and discards the
used coffee and filter.
• Clean up after yourself. If you drop it,
pick it up. If you spill it, wipe it up.
This applies to tables, chairs, counters, floors and appliances.
• Nothing is more disgusting than getting your lunch ready to cook and
opening the microwave door to see
crusty, splattered food. If your food
splatters or runs over while cooking,
clean up the mess.
• Leave no dirty dishes in the sink—
rinse or wash them off. Clean dishes
left on the counter to dry must be
• Don’t gossip or vent. If you really need
to unload, leave the break room and
walk away to a colleague’s cube.
• Keep the conversation G-rated.
Everyone should feel comfortable in
the employee lounge. Avoid topics
that could be controversial or offensive.
Sources: Lifetime Products Inc.,