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November 2017

7 tips for sharing a communal kitchen

Written by Nicole Horne
Workplace Hygiene Leave a Comment

Aside from the open plan office space, the office kitchen is the most frequented space in a company. It’s an area that receives a lot of visitors; from the first morning cuppa, to tea breaks, lunches and snack time. Because of the amount of traffic to the kitchen, the most common gripe experienced by office workers is when basic kitchen etiquette isn’t followed.

You know what I’m referring to, don’t you? We all come across that one colleague who uses your favourite coffee mug without asking, or the one that leaves their half eaten cereal in the sink… If you’re fed up with messy or inappropriate office kitchen behaviour, the following tips will make sharing a kitchen space much more bearable.

#Tip no1: Clean up after yourself

In a study conducted by OfficeTeam, the biggest annoyance - as reported by more than 40% of colleagues - is colleagues who leave a mess for others to clean up. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the kitchen space tidy; not “someone else’s” job.

Clean up any spills you make; you don’t want to be the reason someone else trips, falls and lands up injured. Be sure to wipe down counters after preparing food. Wash used utensils and crockery, and if you have leftovers, don’t leave them lying around in the kitchen; either bin them or store in an airtight container.

#Tip no 2: Implement a kitchen policy

If kitchen etiquette is a problem, or if you want to prevent any mishaps from taking place, it is helpful to put guidelines in place to ensure a happy, hygienic kitchen is kept. You can set up an orientation session with colleagues and take them through basic communal kitchen do’s and don’ts to ensure everyone is made aware of kitchen etiquette. Also be sure to put up clear signs to remind colleagues of the importance of good kitchen habits.

#Tip no 3: Keeping the office fridge clean

Many colleagues tend to leave expired food lurking in the fridge that can pose health hazards and cross contamination issues.

Recommended blog post: Find out how regularly your office fridge should be cleaned.

#Tip no 4: Be mindful

Put yourself in your coworker’s shoes. Do you find the smell of fish unappealing? Did you find an empty milk carton in the fridge or are the paper towels finished? If the answer is yes, then make sure you leave that left-over fish for dinner instead, and make sure you inform the office manager that the milk, paper towels, or whatever it may be needs replacing for the next person that will want to make a cup of tea or wipe their wet hands!

#Tip no 5: Always ask - be considerate

Have you been eyeing that sarmie in the fridge? Or do you use Andy’s cup (which you know is his cup!) for your tea? Perhaps you want to borrow Sally’s salad dressing? Be respectful to others’ belongings and if you want to eat that sandwich or use your colleague's condiments, be sure to check if it is okay with them first!

#Tip no 6: Leave appliances as you found them

It’s gross finding bits of food stuck to the door of the microwave, or a puddle of water around the kettle, so clean up after yourself (Tip number 1) and leave kitchen appliances as you would like to find them. Wipe down sticky instruments, and leave the kitchen space in full ‘working order’.

#Tip no 7: Respect storage space

We all know those colleagues that seem to take all of their kitchen contents along with them; taking up most of the cupboard space, or fridge shelves… It’s perfectly fine to keep a few things in the kitchen, but also be mindful (Tip number 4) of other colleagues, especially if you share your office with a quite a number of staff.

If everyone can abide by these simple kitchen rules, the kitchen will be less of a burden to use and more of a pleasant space to visit.

Are you cleaning your kitchen properly? Find out about our kitchen cleaning tips to ensure your kitchen is germ free.

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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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