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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

 

10 Things to Do Before Year End – In the Office and at Home


  1. Consult your tax advisor – Tax laws change frequently, so contact your tax advisor to make sure you take advantage of loopholes or rearrange your finances for maximum gain. Looking at your records early can help pinpoint problems that will arise at tax time while you can still resolve them.
  2. Say Thanks – Appreciation doesn’t have to mean cash bonuses or physical gifts, but it does mean you should take the time to reflect on the year’s successes – big and small – and show your appreciation for those that helped make it all happen. This includes your customers, fellow employees, your vendors- anyone who helped you get where you are.
  3. Refresh your space – If that old chair is starting to give you aches and pains or your paint is peeling, consider an office facelift! A new office design and new equipment can increase productivity and make a good impression on both old and new clients.
  4. Clean up your files – Start the year fresh by deleting or shredding old documents or digitizing paper files that take up too much space. Make sure everything is where it should be so that you can better review your progress over the last year.
  5. Set new goals – Not just New Year’s resolutions, but goals you want to achieve in your business and personal life over the next year. You should be able to see what worked over the past year and what didn’t- and you can resolve to try new methods this time.
  6. Year-end contributions – If you’ve had a great year financially, why not give back? Charitable contributions are a good way to reconnect with your community and the tax deductions don’t hurt either.
  7. Renew subscriptions – Magazines? Contracts? Whatever it is, December is a time filled with many bargains and promotions. Take advantage of them by spending wisely on things you will appreciate for the year to come.
  8. Don’t forget about your health – As everyone knows, starting a new year is a great excuse to start a new health regimen. Healthy bodies mean healthy minds and more energy to focus on the important things, so take time to review your exercise and eating habits and resolve to make some better choices.
  9. Reconnect – If you’ve lost touch with friends or associates in the past year, December is a great time to reach out and reconnect. Dust off your contact list and send a greeting to those you’ve drifted away from and delete the contacts you no longer recognize.
  10. Celebrate! – No matter where you are, take the lessons of the old year with you into the new and leave behind the old year’s troubles.  Celebrate with people you care about and support each other in their new endeavors. After all, resolutions are easier to keep when you attempt them together!

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