think green

Creating a Break Room Space

break-room
There are many reasons to offer a beautiful, comfortable break room in an office environment. With many people teleworking, eating at their desks, and spending less time around the water cooler, an enticing break room can bring face time and vital interaction back into the office as well as improving morale. Here is a checklist as well as some tips for creating an affordable, functional breakroom that will enhance your working life.

 

Break Room Basics Checklist

These items are necessary for a basic, well-functioning break room.

Furniture

  • Tables: Choose options that are easy to arrange in different configurations and the room will be more versatile.
  • Chairs: Plastic or metal chairs that are easy to clean are best- and why not try bright colors?
  • Storage: Whether cabinets, caddies, or movable sets of drawers, you will need to keep your break room organized and efficient.
  • Counter Space: An area away from the tables for food preparation is essential.
  • Sink: The best break room is a clean break room. You will need a sink to provide water as well as to wash dishes and utensils.

Appliances

  • Refrigerator with freezer/ice maker
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Coffee pot with hot water spout

Cleaning supplies

  • Paper towels
  • All purpose cleaning solution
  • Dish soap and sponge
  • Trash Can
  • Broom

Food & Beverages

  • Coffee & Tea
  • Coffee filters
  • Sugar
  • Cream
  • Coffee stirrers

Other Supplies

  • Dinnerware supplies- plates, bowls, spoons, etc.
  • Tupperware or plastic bags for food storage
  • Coffee mugs/glasses for guests

How to Begin

  • Find Space A separate room is ideal, but if space is at a premium, start with a simple divided-off area (out of view from customers) where employees can get away from their desk to eat their lunch away or just to relax. This can easily be accomplished by setting up a cubicle in the back of the room (or using portable room dividers) and including a table and chairs. If you are fortunate enough to have a separate room to use as a break room, the design possibilities are endless! You may get in touch with our furniture department to learn more about the best types of break room tables and seating for your office.
  • Put Someone in Charge It is important to designate one or two people to be in charge of restocking and checking up on the break room. While group effort should be used to keep the area clean and organised, there should be someone to contact if anything goes wrong or runs out.
  • Establish Kitchen Convenience If you have the space and money, create a break room with the convenience and coziness of your home kitchen. In addition to the dining area, add a kitchen sink so employees can rinse lunch dishes and easily clean up spills. Add a refrigerator, freezer and microwave- this will encourage employees to bring their lunches which is healthier and more cost effective. Water coolers, coffee pots, disposable dinnerware supplies (paper plates, napkins, utensils, etc.), and vending machines are nice extra touches. Establish basic break room etiquette rules to keep your break room clean, stocked, and free of moldy, unidentifiable food!
  • Set the Mood In addition to serving as a dining room, a break room should be a place where employees can escape from the noise and stress of work. They should leave the area feeling re-energized, re-charged, and ready to tackle their next project. Paint the room a bright, cheery color that is different from the rest of the office motif to help change the scenery. Hang a bulletin board to post company announcements and memos and for employees to post personal signs and ads. Provide or ask employees to donate reading material like newspapers and magazines.
  • Provide Food for Thought Providing food and beverages for your employees is a quick way for employees to boost their energy during the workday.  Place them in a basket or container for employees to purchase using the honesty system, or if you are really feeling generous and you have the funds, pull out all the stops and provide free snacks and beverages for your employees! Just stocking a few bulk containers of snacks can make a big impression on your employees. Don’t forget to include healthy options like fruit or granola- remember that everyone spends most of the day at a desk and unhealthy snacks can be a terrible temptation.
  • Be the Host with the Most If you often have clients or guests visiting the office, make sure you have some nice dishes and utensils for their use as well as fresh snacks and beverages.

 

Hopefully you now have some ideas for creating a fun space for employees to eat and socialize- but don’t stop there! Be creative and collect ideas from employees on what they would like to have available.

Clean Winter Salt From Floors & More

Spring has finally come to Colorado with its alternating wet, heavy snowstorms and warm, sunny days. The mix of slush and salt left on roads and sidewalks is corrosive and can damage everything from cars to carpets, so it is good to be aware of how to clean salt from various surfaces. Offices can be especially affected by salt because of increased foot traffic. Here are some helpful ways to keep salt and deicer from ruining your floors, clothes, and vehicles.

 

Floors:

The important factor in cleaning salt from floors is to use plenty of water- when dry, the salt crystals can act like sandpaper and scratch a floor’s finish. It is recommended that you use warm water with 2 tbsp of ammonia and 1 tbsp borax, but a mixture of warm water with a splash of vinegar will also do the trick. Spray or splash the floor with the water and wait a few minutes for the salt to dissolve before mopping.

The best mop for the job is one that absorbs the most water quickly, such as a microfiber mop. Sponge mops may not absorb quick enough and allow the dirty water to settle in grout or other crevices. If you are noticing an extreme amount of dirt and residue on your floors it may be time to buy new or better mats to place in all the entryways to catch grime before it comes inside.

Clothes and Shoes:

Unlike floors, clothes cannot be scratched. This means you can allow the salt to dry on the fabric (you will see a powdery white residue) and you can brush off most of it using a clothes brush or any soft bristle brush. Any mud mixed in with the salt should also brush off easily, but make sure it is completely dry before attempting it or the mud will get ground deeper into the fabric. Any remaining salt or dirt can then be laundered away.

Shoes, especially leather shoes, should be wiped down immediately after contact with salt residue. Saddle soap or other leather cleaning products should be used to clean and protect leather shoes on a regular basis to keep them shiny and moisture-resistant. Olive oil works in a pinch to condition the shoes against water. If the shoes are very wet or soaked through, avoid drying them with heat (which can lead to shrinkage and further damage). Instead, fill the shoes with dry newspaper and replace the paper as necessary until the shoes are dry. Suede is trickier to clean, but try blotting it with a soft towel soaked in white vinegar to take out the worst of the stains. Once it dries you should then buff the suede with a dry cloth to renew the surface (the “nap” which makes suede soft).

Cars:

Salt and deicer can seriously damage a car’s paint and exposed metal surfaces. Again, water mixed with vinegar (1/2 and 1/2) can be used to spot clean, but the best way to protect your car is to take it to your local car wash. Car washes are more environmentally friendly than doing the same job at home because they filter the dirty runoff instead of letting the salt run into drains where it can run into streams and rivers.

 With (hopefully!) nothing but warm weather ahead, these steps can help keep your floors, clothes, and cars protected from corrosion until next winter. Unsure of what cleaning products to use in your office? Contact EON for recommendations.

Credits: How to Remove Winter Salt Stains from Pretty Much Anything>rodale.com, How to Clean Salt from Tile Flooring>howtocleanstuff.net

 

Think Green in 2013, Part 5

EON helps offices stay environmentally friendly with a large selection of green products and recycling programs.  “Greening” your office will not only help the environment, but potentially save money for you and your company. Here are some ideas for cutting down waste and saving energy in your office, as well as suggestions of eco-friendly products from EON.

BREAKROOM

Did you know that coffee is one of the most chemically treated and expensive to produce food products used in the US? Buying shade-grown coffee prevents tropical deforestation and choosing organic varieties will protect you from exposure to pesticides. A lot of coffee is grown where rainforest has been cut or burned- look for the green Rainforest Alliance Certified stamp on coffee products to be sure.

A little research goes a long way when it comes to making product choices. Companies like Keurig have a policy of social responsibility and their K-Cup packs that may seem wasteful at first glance can be recycled and their contents composted. They also adapt their packaging to have less environmental impact. Visit their social responsibility page to discover what Keurig is doing to cut down on waste and how you can help: http://www.keurig.com/social-responsibility.

When it comes to eating lunch, consider the amount of gas and waste packaging involved in getting takeout or leaving the office for lunch. Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers cuts down on waste and saves you money, and knowing what is in your food can help you make healthier choices. Especially in the case of beverages a reusable cup can cut down on the amount of Styrofoam and plastic that would enter landfills from disposable cups and bottles.

It is always best to buy food and beverages with the least amount of packaging possible. Try unwrapped candies in favor of individually packaged snacks. As with paper, keeping easily accessible and clearly labelled recycle bins for plastic and aluminum in the breakroom can cut down on the environmental impact of your office. Why not have a flip through our Green Catalog to give your break room a quick eco-makeover?

FEATURED PRODUCTS

3M Reusable 16.9oz BPA-free Water Bottle

SKU: MMMRB01MC022

Reusable, water bottles are exclusively designed for use in the 3M Filtrete Water Station (sold separately), a water filtration system. BPA-free bottles are dishwasher-safe and include a leakproof cap. Slim design allows the bottle to fit in most vehicle beverage holders. Each bottle holds up to 16.9 oz. (500 ml). Threaded, multicolored caps let you color-code according to use or individual.

Baumgartens Bamboo Coffee Station Organizer

SKU: BAU10650

Keep your coffee station neat, organized and clean with separate compartments for sugars, creamers, straws and stir sticks. Heavy-duty bamboo construction ensures years of high-volume usage while the sleek bamboo design adds beauty to your breakroom. Coffee Station Organizer offers three shallow compartments and three deep compartments to store your coffee essentials. Earth-friendly bamboo is a sustainable and renewable material.

 

 For more sticky notes on how to Think Green, click on the Think Green category under EON Sticky Notes to see all articles on conservation.

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