Most business owners realize that kitchens have specific cleaning standards and health codes to which they must adhere. When you operate a facility that makes food to sell, it’s crucial to make sure your kitchen is putting out safe, clean foods. But many business owners are unsure where to draw the line. Does your break room need to adhere to the same cleaning standards that a kitchen does? Here are some handy tips to help you address this potential gray area.

Should you Clean your Break Room like you would a Kitchen?

  1. What function does your break room serve? If your break room includes a number of couches and tables where employees can congregate and take a break, it likely serves a different purpose than if your break room houses a small kitchen. Before you fret too much about the standards your break room is held to, consider all the functions your break room serves. Of course, any break room needs to be cleaned regularly to improve employee morale, but those with kitchen features will need to be held to higher standards for health reasons.
  2. What appliances does your break room have? If your break room has a only toaster, you’ll likely keep a different cleaning schedule than if your break room has an office market, refrigerator, oven or dishwasher. It’s important that all of your appliances are regularly cleaned and maintained for cleanliness, health and morale reasons. As petty as it may seem, break room etiquette can be a source of major friction in a shared office space. Assess which appliances you have, which you truly need and what the right cleaning schedule for each of them is. Consider hiring a day porter to help maintain break room cleanliness if you have enough appliances that it would be distracting for your employees to have to maintain these appliances (not to mention floors and counter tops) on a daily basis.
  3. Do your employees know what they’re expected to clean? If you have a refrigerator, you should have policies about how much food is expected to be kept in them. If you have dishes, your employees should know whether it is up to them or the janitorial staff to wash them (employees are often encouraged to wash their own dishes so this is done in real time). Whatever your policies are for keeping the break room clean, your employees should be well-aware of them. Furthermore, these policies should be enforced. Otherwise, much like a college dorm room, everyone may avoid cleaning and hope someone else takes care of it for them.
  4. Are you countertops and floors regularly cleaned? Even if your employees are fairly conscientious with their dishes and the appliances that they use, shared spaces like countertops and floors can often go unnoticed. Since these are features that every employee likely uses every day, many don’t think about cleaning them each time they use them. So, even if employees are washing dishes as soon as they’re used, dirt and grime can build up on cabinets, countertops and floors. Create a regular cleaning schedule for these spaces to keep things spic and span. Make sure shared surfaces are all accounted for and that each employee has a stake in keeping these areas clean. If it’s not something your employees or office manager can handle alone, we can help you devise a strategy that works.

The truth is, your break room is unlikely to have the strict health code standards that a commercial kitchen is held to. That said, this space can often function as a kitchen in many organizations. Even if it’s just for employee use, it can be helpful to have a commercial cleaning company that can step in and take the burden of deep cleaning the break room off your employees’ hands.

If you have questions about the best way to maintain a clean break room, feel free to contact us at 571.451.0441.

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