The employee breakroom is a space that provides your staff with a place to rest, recharge, and build relationships with their teammates, often, over lunch, or a cup of coffee. This bonding and rest time is critical to employee morale and helps foster a sense of community in the workplace. It doesn’t have the same effect if it is dirty or unsafe! Here are a few best practices that will help everyone enjoy the space as much as possible, especially in light of any safety or health concerns they might have.
It is important to keep the breakroom clean. Not just tidy, but sanitized. Leave some disinfectant wipes or spray on the counter and encourage staff to wipe off the table or counters they used when they leave the room. Other areas that you will want to make sure are getting wiped multiple times a day are:
Cleaning with a disinfectant wipe or spray will help stop the spread of viruses like the flu and COVID-19. Cleaning up any spills or messes will also help mitigate any pest problems. If pests are discovered, be sure to call an exterminator immediately. Pests are more than just unsightly; they can transmit diseases as well.
Be sure to also provide employees with a way to wash and dry their dishes and utensils as well; no one likes a sink full of dirty dishes!
While we are talking about cleaning and sanitizing things, remember to wipe down other shared spaces throughout the day as well.
Employees should wash their hands before touching anything in the breakroom, and then once again before leaving the breakroom. Washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is an easy and efficient way to stop the spread of illness.
If you feel a sneeze, or a cough, coming on, then be sure to cover your mouth using your elbow.
Suggest that employees should not share homemade food in a breakroom setting. If multiple employees were to eat a batch of contaminated food, everyone would need to be out of the office at one time!
Even though we want our employees to enjoy a little social time together, encourage distancing measures of at least 6 ft apart. You might also want to limit the number of people that can be in the break room at one time. We know the coffee is good, but now isn’t the best time to have everyone fighting over the last cup!
Make sure that all appliances are used properly. This includes microwaves, stoves/ovens, and even coffee pots! Leaving the stove or oven on can damage the equipment and pose fire dangers.
Place a smoke detector in the breakroom and make sure it is tested regularly!
All employees should also know how to use fire extinguishers. You can consider making this a question on your monthly safety audits! By implementing these simple guidelines, you can help to keep your employees safe and healthy year-round, not just during these challenging times!