It is important to clean the break room on a regular basis. A dirty break room can adversely affect your employees’ health and lower their morale. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when cleaning the break room:
Clean Up After Yourself
Though it may seem like common sense to some, the best way to keep the break room clean is for office workers to clean up after themselves. Wipe up any spills they make, dust any crumbs into the trash can and place dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher. Management is responsible for keeping the supply closet stocked with paper towels and other cleaning supplies, so it is easier for employees to clean up their messes. When workers clean up after themselves, it makes the cleaning crew’s job easier, prevents ants and rodents from moving in and makes the break room more inviting. This is also one of the rules of break room etiquette. »Learn More
Empty the Fridge
In May of 2009, over 300 people had to be evacuated from an office building when a worker decided to clean out a refrigerator full of rotten food. The cleaning chemicals created noxious fumes when mixed with the moldy food, and several people were sent to the hospital.1 This is an extreme case of what can go wrong when food is left in the refrigerator for too long. In order to avoid stinking up the entire floor, or sending employees to the hospital, many companies have a weekly “fridge dumping” policy in which all of the foods left in the refrigerator are thrown out, regardless of the expiration date. This practice will also make sure that there is enough room in the refrigerator for employees to bring in their lunches every day.
Use Green Cleaners
According to the EPA, conventional cleaning agents have a hand in causing indoor air pollution to be five times greater than that of outdoor pollution.2 So, it does little good to clean the break room with chemicals that can make employees sick. Luckily, with the green revolution sweeping the country, there are several eco- and human-friendly alternatives that do as good a job as, or better than, conventional chemicals. »Learn More
Wash the Dishes
One way to reduce waste in the break room is to use reusable dinnerware, drinkware and flatware, as opposed to disposables. However, those dishes will need to be washed in order to keep a clean supply on hand. Encourage employees to wash their dishes by hand or place them in the dishwasher. Also, the dishwasher should be run every night or any time it is full of dirty dishes.
Bring in a Professional Cleaning Crew
No matter how good your employees are at cleaning up after themselves, it never hurts to bring in a professional cleaning crew to mop the floors, take out the garbage and give the sink and countertops a thorough cleaning. Most office buildings and factories have the cleaning crew come in on a nightly basis.
1 CBS 5, “Dozens Sick From Rotten SJ Office Fridge Cleanup,” http://cbs5.com/local/san.jose.evacuation.2.1007914.html (accessed October 18, 2009).
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds),” http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html (accessed October 18, 2009).
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