How to Set Break Room Rules that People Actually Follow


Having a well-stocked break room is a great perk for employees. It gives them a place to relax and recharge with snacks and socializing. And it shows them that you value their well-being and know they need to step away from the computer and engage in some non-work oriented activities at work from time to time. However, even though it’s a chill-out spot, you still need a few break room rules so that chaos doesn’t ensue. Break room rules help keep order where there can be chaos, and they ensure that the place stays a spot that everyone wants to hang out.


Essential Break Room Rules for Companies of All Sizes

Here is a rundown of break room etiquette you can share with your employees. Consider posting these office break room rules in the break room and around the office. Regular reminders of break room rules help ensure that they’re followed.


  1. Don’t Empty the Coffee Pot

Polishing off the last drop of coffee and then returning to your desk isn’t a great way to make friends at work. In fact, some people argue that refilling an empty coffee pot is #1 when it comes to breakroom rules. If you drain the last drop, brew another pot for your coworkers who are looking forward to their share of coffee. It’s simple politeness and consideration at work.


  1. Clean Up After Yourself

Business Management Daily likes to remind employees that their mother doesn’t work at the office – i.e. everyone needs to clean up after themselves. Again, a simple rule but a very important part of breakroom etiquette. If you make a mess, clean it up. Don’t leave junk or food lying around and wipe up any crumbs or spills you may have left. Try to leave the space as clean as you found it. If you see a mess that isn’t yours, don’t shy away from tidying that up either – your coworkers will appreciate it.


  1. Don’t Store Food in the Fridge (particularly long-term)

Try not to get into the habit of using the fridge for storage. It should just be there to house basics, like milk for coffee, and whatever employees have brought in to eat that day. Try to clear out your food at the end of each day so that your colleagues don’t find rotten fruits and salads in there weeks later.


  1. Stay Away from Smelly Foods

All breakroom rules should urge employees to be considerate about how their food smells – especially if you work in a small office space. Heating up fishy foods is kind of nauseating, and even if it tastes delicious you don’t need to subject coworkers to an afternoon of terrible odors. Save the kimchi tacos for dinner at home, everyone.


  1. Have a Noise Policy

Small Biz Trends recommends having a noise policy so that breakroom chatter doesn’t get out of hand. Everyone takes breaks at different times so you don’t want certain people disrupting other’s work while they are taking a time out. Whatever you decide, just be sure that it’s clear to employees so that they know what your particular break room etiquette expects of them.


If you need a set of break room rules to post in a highly visible place (and you want it to look good, get in touch with Vesper). We’ll help ensure everyone is aware of your break room etiquette, and that it remains comfortable, clean and relaxing haven where everyone can zone out for a bit.