How To Organize The Office Break Room
The break room at your office can be a hard place to keep organized. When many people share a common space, organization can become a challenge. Putting systems into place to make it easy to maintain order is a good place to start. Here are some tips for keeping the break room organized:
Put someone in charge. People using the break room don’t often think about how orderly the room is when they leave. That being said, they may walk away leaving crumbs or trash behind. It’s always a good idea to have someone assigned to the task of making sure the break room is in good order throughout the day. Nobody wants to take a break in a dirty room that looks unkept.
Make use of every inch of storage space. Depending on the size of the room and how it is used, it’s a wise investment to make use of every inch of space for proper storage and organization. If your office is small, a simple kitchen cart can do the trick. For larger offices, having a full kitchen with appliances is optimal.
A place for everything and everything in its place. Think about all of the items that will be stored in the break room: napkins, paper towels, cups, straws, lids, plates, coffee, tea, etc… each item needs a place to belong. When you find an area that is good for coffee, for example, label the shelf appropriately so everyone will know that this is the spot coffee is to be stored. Hopefully, this will encourage people to put items back into the area labeled as such.
Keep overflow separate. All the paper towels don’t need to be taking up space in the most accessible cabinet. Keep a few supplies close at hand and store the overflow up high or down low. Not only is this a good idea for storage, but it’s also helps to keep only one item open at a time. You don’t need five boxes of the same type of tea on the shelf. Use up one box at a time.
Make it easy to clean up. Find the easiest and most convenient ways to keep the break room clean. Disposable items and wipes are a big help. If there are coffee drinkers of different kinds, using the single serve or K-Cup® method is a great option. This way, people can choose exactly what they like and the clean-up is a snap.
Make clean up solutions accessible. Did you ever open the microwave right after someone who had a spill and didn’t clean up? Yuk! Keep wipes handy to make it easy for lunchers in a hurry to keep the microwave clean. Attaching a paper towel dispenser on the wall is also a good solution.
Keep a step-stool handy. Not all staff members are 6’ tall. A folding step-stool can hang on the wall in a convenient location so everyone can have access to and put things away in high places.
Post directions. If there is a method to using a particular appliance or a system for cleaning up at the end of the day—post it. Listing every single step in writing, laminating the directions and posting them on the wall for all to see, is the best way for there to be an exact method to the clean up process. People view clean-up differently. Some think a quick once-over with a paper towel is enough, and it may be. But if you want specific steps to be taken in the clean-up process, your best chance is to precisely lay it out there.
Set boundaries in the fridge. If there is a shared refrigerator, people may keep lunch items, snacks and who knows what else inside. It’s important to put your name and the date on all food and drink items. It’s not fun to have your stomach turn at lunchtime when you open the fridge and see someone else’s rotting food next to yours. Set boundaries as to how long you’ll let food items linger in the break room fridge. This way, an assigned person can have the task of removing anything beyond the set date.
Frequently give the break room a once over. It’s important to regularly check in on what you’re using, what needs to be purchased, and what can be eliminated. Taking the time out to organize the space will help keep the break room in tip top shape. After all, organization is all about setting up systems and planning now to avoid chaos in the future.