Don’t Be THAT Guy: Office Break Room Etiquette

There are a few simple guidelines for office fridge and general break room etiquette that will ensure you never become THAT guy or gal. For the sake of every one of your co-workers, follow them!

June 24, 2015
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The modern office is a veritable mine field of unspoken rules and potential faux pas. Nowhere is this more evident than the office break room, particularly the communal fridge. Some people treat it like it’s their own private fridge, without regard for fellow co-workers. They’re the absolute worst.

Don’t be the worst.

There are a few simple guidelines for office fridge and general break room etiquette that will ensure you never become THAT guy or gal. For the sake of every one of your co-workers, follow them!

Don’t Eat Other People’s Food

This shouldn’t even have to be said, but don’t eat other people’s food! Come on, are you in kindergarten? Eating someone else’s lunch shows a total lack of respect and empathy for those around you. It’s hard to trust someone with that important project if you can’t even trust them not to eat your sandwich.

Label Things

If someone is bold enough to eat another person’s lunch, a Sharpie probably won’t stop him/her. However, labeling your food, especially common items like yogurt, will help avoid confusion. Dating food isn’t a bad idea either. If you keep milk around for morning coffee or cereal, write the date it was opened on the carton. Your co-workers definitely don’t want to be involved in making an artisanal batch of office yogurt.

Pick Up After Yourself

This seems like another obvious thing some people don’t comprehend. No one else wants to involved in a makeshift science project, so, for the love of all that’s holy, throw away your old food! Not only is moldy food patently gross, It’s also taking up valuable real estate. You know, for food that’s not fuzzy.

Don’t Be a Hoarder

Some people like to bring a week’s worth of lunches in on Monday and stack them in the fridge. Don’t do this. It might seem really convenient for you, but it’s rude to take up way more space than you actually need for the day. Planning ahead and making a five days worth of food is fine. In fact, it’s responsible. But how about you store that Tupperware Jenga in your own fridge and bring one meal each day?

Be Realistic

It’s good that you don’t want to waste food. It doesn’t hurt to be realistic, though. Let’s face it, you’re probably not going to eat the last three bites of that Italian sub or chicken penne later. Go ahead and throw it out. There’s no need to crowd the fridge with good intentions.

There Are Certain Things You Don’t Heat Up

When it comes to an office break room, there are considerate people that don’t heat up seafood and then there are monsters. Considering how shrimp, crab and fish smell after being heated up, it’s a wonder that anyone saves Red Lobster leftovers at all. But some people do. They either have a non-functioning sense of smell or a total disregard for making the break room smell like low tide at the wharf. Seriously, the smell does not go away. Please, we’re begging you, keep the leftover salmon at home.

Learn To Use The Microwave

Speaking of heating things up…Learn how to use the microwave. You don’t need to heat up pasta for seven minutes. All that will get you is a burnt tongue and a microwave that looks like a crime scene. Also, use the popcorn button! The only thing that smells worse and lasts longer than reheated seafood is burnt popcorn.

Respect The Coffee

If you drink the last cup of coffee, it’s your duty to make a new pot. This is one of the oldest break room rules in the book. It’s probably in the Constitution somewhere. Your fellow workers depend on the magical elixir to get them through the day. Don’t deny them that.

Now that you’re educated on proper break room etiquette, don’t be afraid to preach the gospel to your co-workers! Oh, and, check that coffee pot one more time, just to be sure…

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