Employees are eating their lunch in the conference room and I want to put a sign on the door saying that this room is to be used for meetings only, etc. and I don't know how to say it, please advise, thank you.

closed as unclear what you're asking by gnat, Fattie, sf02, user53651, Mister Positive Apr 25 at 14:38

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    Are you their boss? – EJoshuaS Apr 24 at 20:48
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    This question is missing context details, but this seems like a really passive-aggressive way to deal with the problem TBH - if you’re their boss, just tell them to stop directly. If not, you can bring it up in a meeting or something, but you can’t force people to stop doing that. – EJoshuaS Apr 24 at 20:54
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    Lol, and I am reading this eating lunch inside our conference room... which happens to informally be also our lunch room... could this be the case in this company? – DarkCygnus Apr 24 at 20:56
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    Also, why does it bother you that they're doing that? What's the problem? – EJoshuaS Apr 25 at 0:25
  • Are these employees having a lunch meeting in the conference room or is the conference room always unbooked during lunch hours and people are using it as a free space to eat? – BSMP Apr 25 at 6:54

If you are their manager and there is a lunchroom available, then you can simply tell them that you do not want them eating their lunch in the conference room. It helps if you can explain why: the room needs to be clean for meetings, the room is sometimes used during the lunch time, etc.

If you are their manager and there is not a lunchroom available, they may be using the conference room to avoid disrupting people who are still working. In that case, you need to consider the pros and cons of whether it is better for people to be talking and eating in the same place others are trying to work, versus having a conference room that is clean and available for meetings.

If you are a manager but are not their manager, then the above reasoning applies, but you need to take it up to a level where it is a company policy, not just a policy for your own group. If upper management agrees, then they will make a policy for everyone.

If you are not a manager, but you need to use the conference room, and it is either not available or not adequately clean after people eat in there, then you probably need to reserve the room with a buffer ahead of time, and then go ask them to clean and vacate the room before others in your meeting arrive. Since you have the room reserved, that is a reasonable request. You'll have to do this each time, but if you have enough meetings, it will become a less preferred location for others.

If you are not a manager and do not need the conference room, but are simply annoyed by people using it, then unfortunately, that is probably a you problem, and you'll simply have to figure out how to live with your annoyance.

  • I agree - this seems a lot better than just posting a passive-aggressive sign on the door. – EJoshuaS Apr 25 at 13:05

That's a tricky question, specially because there's a lot of downvotes over it it misses a lot of context. Still, let's see if the below can be helpful. Before going to what to say, I'll help with what to consider before saying anything.

Understand if that's your problem or a company problem

First, why this bothers you? I can think of several reasons (having a meeting with a special client in a room smelling like curry isn't exactly starting with the right foot). Understand why it bothers you and assess if this is a common problem to the company or only to you.

Draw a line, put "me" in one extreme and "company" on the other. List the top reasons you believe this habit is a problem, positioning it by impact: between "you" and "company". As closer the reason is to the "company" extreme, as stronger your case will be.

Check for already existing rules

Most companies have rules. As in the real world out of the office, rules exist to ensure people can live in harmony. Isn't there any clear rule around meeting room usage? Most companies have a "suggestion mailbox" or some sort of support services. Raise a question asking if there's any rule about it and stating that there's people doing so. Attach to it the rules you got from the first exercise. Wait. Patiently. This usually takes time. If you're lucky, the company by itself will deal with it. If not, then...

Suggest an improvement action

You can

  • suggest your company to leave a note on the door asking people to not eat. I'd strongly discourage having yourself doing so - unless you really, really, REALLY have some authority.
  • suggest your company to send a communication to everyone.
  • even suggest your company to offer a break room area.
  • you can also drop a note suggesting people to not eating lunch on the room.

For ANY of the above, you should ensure the reasons why doing so. Remember: you're asking people to break habits. Human is terrible at breaking habits. You need to be pretty convincing to make it happen.


"Please do not eat lunch in the conference room".

Wow. I'm amazed at the people saying that this is "not enough". Good grief.

Problem: People eating in the conference room. The OP wants to put up a sign and doesn't know what to say.

Solution: How about "Please do not eat lunch in the conference room"?

Oh, sure, I could probably wax on for a few paragraphs about how a person might want to use 20# or 22# paper....ivory or off-white.....

We could discuss what font to use, calibri? Times New Roman? Arial?

We could talk about what size font.....what ratio the size of sign to the door should be? SHould it be ON the door versus the wall next to the door?

Or....just put up a sign saying "Please do not eat lunch in the conference room"

  • 1
    That would not work. People would assume it means you can eat other stuff in their. You have to REALLY spell it out. – Fattie Apr 24 at 22:26
  • "Please do not consume objects during your time within this space which has been labelled as the conference room." – L_Church Apr 25 at 12:05
  • This answer is pretty light, you may wish to consider adding some details. – Mister Positive Apr 25 at 14:12
  • Seemed pretty clear. That's all that's needed. You want to pass a memo to everyone? Great. But the problem is that people eat lunch. So put a restriction on it to disallow it. No reason to get overly complicated. – Keith Apr 25 at 15:58
  • I didn't downvote, but we don't even know if the OP is their boss or not, nor do we know exactly why the OP considers this behavior problematic in the first place. Besides, this seems like a really passive-aggressive way to handle this. If the OP is in a position of authority, just talk to people directly; if she isn't, why would putting up a sign make any difference? They don't have to listen to her. – EJoshuaS May 1 at 15:57

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