In the hit NBC show “The Office” there is a scene in the later seasons in which the character Pam – played by actress Jenna Fischer – comes upon a microwave in the break room that is super dirty. Being outraged by the food debris that is all over the inside of the microwave, she decides to write an anonymous note to her co-workers. In it she extols the virtues of keeping the microwave clean and being considerate of others. Even though her point is valid, her note is not well received. Much of this cringe-comedy show drew its humor from exaggerations of real life office situations. Here, the reality is not that far from fiction. Break room etiquette does exist and is, unfortunately, often ignored by office workers. However, these rules are necessary to make the workplace run smoothly. Our staffing Firm in New York City would like to share with you some pointers on break room etiquette.break-room

  • Be considerate when using the microwave: Microwave etiquette does not stop at simply cleaning up after you use it. Also, stay near the microwave so that you can be ready to remove your food after it stops. Otherwise, others may be waiting needlessly to use the machine. Also, avoid placing smelly foods or foods that take a long time to prepare in the microwave.
  • Keep the noise down: Many people like to have quiet conversions with their co-workers while they are in the break room. Be considerate of others and keep noise levels down when chatting on the phone or with co-workers.
  • Label food items: Label the items you place into the fridge clearly to avoid any confusion. (Someone might assume that an unlabeled item is communal property.) Needless to say, you should never open items that are labeled or eat other people’s food.
  • Never leave your dirty dishes or silverware in the sink: Wash, or at the very least soak, your dishes after using them.
  • Follow break room policies: Many break rooms will have rules for the microwave, fridge, etc. use clearly posted. Don’t start your new job by standing out for the wrong reason by violating these rules.
  • Keep the coffee fresh: Don’t be someone who empties the coffee pot and then walks away. You should refill empty coffee pots as a courtesy and in order to prevent someone else from taking time out from their work to do so.

In conclusion, break room etiquette is a combination of abiding by rules that are clearly posted and using common sense. As one of the leading staffing Agencies in NYC, we can definitely say that courtesy and respect for others goes a long way in making the workplace run more smoothly.