Break Room Etiquette

10 Break Room Etiquette Rules and Tips!

The break room is a place where employees, students, etc. can relax, unwind, and recharge during their workday.

It’s also a place where coworkers can interact and build relationships, I’ve made many great friends over a bite to eat at work!

With so many people coming and going, it’s important to follow some basic rules of etiquette to ensure that the break room is a welcoming and respectful environment for everyone.


10 Break Room Etiquette Rules and Tips

Rule #1: Clean up after yourself

One of the most important rules of break room etiquette is to always clean up after yourself.

This means throwing away any trash, wiping down the tables and countertops, and washing and drying your dishes.

Leaving the break room a mess can be frustrating for your coworkers and makes it difficult for others to find a clean and inviting space to relax.

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Rule #2: Don’t hog the microwave

The microwave is a popular appliance in the break room, but it’s important to be considerate of your coworkers when using it.

Avoid hogging the microwave by limiting your use to short, quick bursts and allowing others to use it as well.

You should also be mindful of the time you spend heating up your food, as others may be waiting to use the microwave.

Rule #3: Respect others’ food preferences

It’s important to respect others’ food preferences in the break room.

This means not making fun of or criticizing someone’s food choices, and being mindful of any food allergies or dietary restrictions.

If you’re bringing in food to share, be sure to clearly label any ingredients that may be a concern for others.

Rule #4: Keep the noise level down

While the break room is a place for socializing, it’s important to keep the noise level down so as not to disturb others who may be trying to relax or work in the nearby area.

This means talking at a normal volume and avoiding loud, boisterous behavior.

Rule #5: Don’t bring in strong-smelling foods

While it’s okay to bring in your own food to the break room, it’s important to be mindful of others when it comes to strong-smelling foods.

Foods with strong odors, such as fish or strong spices, can be overpowering and unpleasant for some people.

Consider packing a less pungent lunch or snack to avoid disturbing your coworkers.

Rule #6: Don’t leave food or drinks unattended

Leaving food or drinks unattended in the break room can be a breeding ground for germs and pests.

To avoid this, make sure to keep an eye on your food and drinks at all times, and clean up any spills or messes immediately.

Rule #7: Don’t take more than your share

If you’re partaking in a communal snack or meal, be sure to only take what you need and leave plenty for others.

Taking more than your share can be rude and inconsiderate, and can lead to tension and conflict in the break room.

Rule #8: Don’t bring personal problems into the break room

The break room is a place to take a break from work, not to bring your personal problems. It’s important to be respectful of others and not burden them with your issues.

If you need to vent or talk through a problem, consider seeking out a private space or confiding in a trusted friend or coworker outside of the break room.

Rule #9: Don’t abuse the break room amenities

The break room likely has amenities such as a fridge, microwave, and coffee machine for everyone’s use.

It’s important to be considerate of others and not abuse these amenities.

This means not monopolizing the coffee machine for long periods of time, not using up all the milk or cream, and not taking up too much space in the fridge with your personal items.

Rule #10: Follow the posted rules

Most break rooms will have posted rules outlining the expectations for behavior and usage.

It’s important to follow these rules to ensure that the break room is a pleasant and functional space for everyone.

If you’re unsure of the rules, ask a coworker or supervisor for clarification.

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Is the break room a good place to meet people and make new friends?

The break room can be a good place to meet new people and make friends at work, your college, or wherever you’re sharing space to eat your lunch.

It’s a space where people from different departments and backgrounds can come together and interact informally.

By following the rules of etiquette and being friendly and approachable, you can make the most of your time in the break room and potentially build meaningful relationships with others, yes.

However, it’s important to remember that the break room is not the only place to make connections at work, and some people might want to be left alone.

Always be professional and respectful of others, and do not let personal relationships interfere with what you and the others in the room are there to do!


Following these rules of break room etiquette is important for creating a respectful and welcoming environment for all coworkers.

By showing consideration for others and being mindful of your actions, you can help ensure that the break room is a place where everyone can relax and recharge during their workday.

Image credits – Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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