Break rooms are an area we are all accustomed to having in the workplace. Break rooms serve a purpose by providing a place that you can get something to eat and a location to catch your breath away from your clients. However, there is also a downside to them that often goes unacknowledged.
There are times when the breakroom can be disruptive and destructive to a good work environment. It can serve as a place where time and money are being wasted, especially if too much time is spent hanging out in it. All too frequently, while folks just mean to warm up a cup of coffee, salon drama begins. These situations can be created by a few harsh words, a bad tone, or just one individual having a general dislike for another. Often this is where stories get blown out of proportion and rumors get started. Unfortunately, before you know it, things escalate.
Always be mindful of how much time you spend in the breakroom. I have always found it helpful and invigorating to eat outside when weather permits. Another choice to take a 30-minute break to leave the and get something quick to eat and complete an errand.
I also recommend trying to schedule some downtime during your day. Go through your schedule and make any changes if needed. Rather than hanging out in the breakroom, you can clean your work area, which is very important in today’s climate. Make a list of small tasks that need to get finished and knock them out daily during the time you would spend in the break area. For example, go through your products or retail shelves and see if anything needs reordering, look at magazines to find new and fresh ideas, or get rid of old things that are filling up space. My point is, be mindful of how much time you are spending in areas that are not very productive.
If you do have to go to the break room, here are some general rules to follow.
- First, and probably very obviously, always clean up after yourself. This ensures you are being respectful of your co-workers.
- Second, stay away from talk that involves other people in the workplace. Even if it seems like a positive conversation, it’s easy for things to take a negative turn.
- Third, if you happen upon a conversation in which people are complaining or expressing negative remarks about other individuals, remove yourself quickly and politely from the room. If there is a bulletin board available for posting items, only post items that are professional, such as information on a class or webinar. And, if you don’t own the salon, always check with the owner first before posting any item on a shared bulletin board. As a guideline, always keep all verbal and written communication positive and professional, rather than negative or personal.
Remember, in this industry, time is money and a good reputation is important. Maintain good habits in the workplace as well as the break room and you will be contributing to building a positive professional image and reputation. And, nothing can take the place of that!