Microwave Rules At Work: A Simple Guide

Microwaves are an increasingly common part of the workplace. They provide employees with a simple way to heat up meals, and provide everyone with some extra downtime over the lunch period.

As with any shared appliance though, it’s important to set up some ground rules that everyone can follow. Keep them simple and friendly, and the end-result will be a set of microwave rules that make for a much more pleasant working environment.

In this article, I’ll set out some of the rules that I think are worth keeping in mind if you’re planning to add a microwave to your office break room. Feel free to use them as inspiration for your own office rules, print them out, and display them in the kitchen room!

(When you’re done here, my guide to choosing the best microwave for an office will help you kit out your break room in style.)

A photograph of a standard office kitchen, with various food and drink appliances

Rule 1: Be Mindful of Cooking Times

It’s hard to heat more than one thing in a microwave at a time, so that means everyone will need to take a turn. They also need to be mindful of how long they spend heating their food.

If everyone’s heating food with a longer cooking time, you’ll end up with a queue of hungry workers waiting too long for their lunch.

Try to encourage people to limit their microwave usage to a reasonable timeframe. Leftovers, for example, are much better than pre-packaged meals, which can take 5-10 minutes to heat through.

Why this rule benefits everyone:

By being considerate of cooking times, you help to minimize wait times and ensure that everyone can enjoy their lunch break efficiently.

Rule 2: Keep It Clean

As with any shared space or appliance, cleanliness is a crucial part of maintaining a pleasant working environment and happy co-workers.

Everyone should make sure they clean up any spills or splashes that have occurred while using the microwave. Make this easy for people by providing paper towels that they can damp and then use to wipe down the appliance.

Why this rule benefits everyone:

A clean microwave not only keeps the kitchen looking tidy, but it also reduces the risk of unpleasant odors and potential health hazards. 

A clean workspace makes for happier colleagues and a more enjoyable lunch break. If everyone does their bit, it should never become a major problem!

Rule 3: Use Microwave-Safe Containers

Not every container is microwave-safe. If someone uses the wrong type, you can end up with broken glass or melted plastic. That’ll either create a hazardous mess, put the microwave out of use altogether, or both.

Encourage your employees to only use microwave-safe containers, and consider buying a few so that they can transfer their food into them before heating. Make sure any containers you buy are specifically labeled as microwave-safe.

Why this rule benefits everyone:

Using microwave-safe containers helps prevent accidents, and ensures the microwave remains in good working order for everyone to use.

Rule 4: Be Aware of Aromatic Foods

While everyone has different tastes, some foods can produce strong odors when heated, which may be unpleasant or distracting to others in the office. Whenever possible, ask employees to opt for less aromatic foods, or consider eating them cold.

Why this rule benefits everyone:

Being considerate of food odors shows respect for coworkers and helps maintain a more comfortable environment for everyone.

Rule 5: Don’t Forget Your Food

With busy schedules and looming deadlines, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget about your meal in the microwave. Ask people to set a timer or create a reminder to ensure they retrieve their food promptly, leaving the microwave available for others to use.

Why this rule benefits everyone:

By remembering to collect their food, employees not only avoid overcooking their meal, but also free up the microwave for others, keeping the lunchtime flow moving smoothly.

Wrapping Up

A microwave can be a fantastic addition to an office kitchen space, but it’s important to lay out some ground rules so everyone gets to enjoy it.

A little consideration goes a long way at work, and if everyone does their bit then the office kitchen becomes a happy place for everyone!