Questions to Consider Before You Buy Cleaning & Breakroom Supplies

Before you stock up on food, cleaning supplies and furniture for your office breakroom, it’s important to answer some essential questions. These will help you get started:

How will the breakroom be used? For quick breaks and meals, or also for meetings and downtime?

How you design the breakroom will affect how employees use it. Just have a counter and cabinets, and it’ll be a quick place to grab snacks and supplies. Add seating — either in the form of bar stools or tables and chairs — and it’ll be a place where employees will informally gather. Take stock and make sure you have the space and budget to create a breakroom that will be effective for your business. What items do you need to create an inviting breakroom?

What snacks and beverages do your employees like? Are there allergies and intolerances to consider?

In a 2014 Staples survey, respondents say they are overwhelmingly looking for healthy snack options, such as nuts and granola bars (57 percent), compared with chips, cookies or candy (10 percent). But before you go and place an order for food and drink, survey your team and ask what they’d like to see available — and also what they can’t have due to allergies or other health concerns.

What is the budget for utensils and larger appliances, like a full-size or compact refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave?

Don’t forget the big expenses. What appliances, dishware and utensils do employees want or need most? Coffeemaker is often high on this list. Your team will want a dishwasher to keep mugs, plates, bowls and other washable items clean, and they’ll need a refrigerator to keep lunches and beverages cool.

What types of surfaces and areas will need to be cleaned, and what are the proper supplies for doing it?

Ongoing maintenance of the breakroom is key. Make sure you’re prepared for spills and general messiness both by having the necessary cleaning supplies and getting the whole team to share the responsibility for keeping the room tidy.

What will be stored in the breakroom, and what signage is needed to properly identify it?

No one wants to eat snacks that have been sitting next to disinfectant or other cleaning supplies. But more importantly, it’s not safe to do so. Properly label all your food, cleaning supplies and other inventory, and keep like things together so everything is easy to find.

Are employees trained in first aid and how to use the fire extinguisher?

Make sure your first aid kit has the required items in it, and that none of the items is past its expiration date. If your team needs first aid training, contact the Red Cross or the National Safety Council. The American Heart Association also offers training for rapid response to cardiac arrest. Beyond that, make sure you have enough fire extinguishers and that employees are properly trained in how to use them in the case of an emergency.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin to create a list of items to order for your breakroom.

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