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February 2021

[Update] 5 Tips for sharing a communal kitchen

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Workplace Hygiene, Food Safety and Food Processing

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it imperative that we are all aware of the hygiene etiquette that is required in a communal kitchen in order to remain safe and hygienic. Here are 5 tips for sharing a communal kitchen.

Bar the open plan office space and bathroom, the communal kitchen is the most frequented place in any company. It’s an area that receives a lot of visitors; from the first morning cup of coffee, to tea breaks, lunches and snack time. Because of the amount of traffic to the kitchen, the most common office worker gripe is when kitchen etiquette isn’t followed, and colleagues leave a mess behind them.

The last time we spoke about kitchen hygiene we mentioned things like keeping the office fridge clean and respecting storage space, and while that is still good advice, this time we’ll be looking at suggestions that will help us during the pandemic.

1. Implement a kitchen policy

Implementing a kitchen policy is a good way to keep everyone in the know regarding what's expected of them. For example in our office kitchen -  as small as it is - we have a policy that states only one person may be allowed in the kitchen at a time, thus ensuring that social distancing requirements are met. You might want to adjust the limit according to the size of your communal kitchen.

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 hygiene etiquette. Also be sure to put up clear signs to remind colleagues of the importance of good kitchen habits.

2. Clean up after yourself

In a study conducted by OfficeTeam, the biggest annoyance - 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.

Not only does this help with minimizing the chance of potentially spreading Covid-19 and other bacteria through cross contamination (a term used to describe an inadvertent transfer of bacteria or other contaminants from one surface to another) but it also means your colleagues will be happier!

It also promotes workplace safety as it prevents trips and falls from spillage, or an inadvertent allergic reaction by a colleague to your lunch. Make sure you wash and dry used utensils and crockery thoroughly, and if you have any leftovers, don’t leave them lying around in the kitchen; either bin them or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

3. Leave appliances as you found them

Not only is it gross to find bits of food stuck to the door of the microwave, or a puddle of water around the kettle, but it poses a health hazard too which is why it’s important that you clean and sanitize the appliances you’ve used to prevent cross contamination. In doing so you will be helping to keep yourself and your colleagues safe.

4. Put a schedule in place for your daily cleaner

It is important to ensure there is a thorough kitchen cleaning schedule in place to ensure that hygiene is always kept top of mind. To avoid bacterial growth as well as pests and the diseases they can spread, be sure that thorough cleaning is carried out on a regular basis.

It is equally important to schedule kitchen deep cleaning services such as Initial’s CaterClean or Covid-19 specialist disinfection services to prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses.

5. Provide hand sanitisers, hand soaps and drying solutions

Ensure that your kitchen has sufficient hand soap and sanitisers, as well as a drying solution such as paper towel. Adopting proper hand washing, drying and sanitising practices is crucial to ensuring your and your colleagues wellbeing. It’s common knowledge that 80% of diseases can be spread by touch and therefore providing easy access to hand sanitation will encourage good hand hygiene and mitigate the spread of bacteria.

Are you cleaning your kitchen properly? Find out about our kitchen cleaning tips to ensure your kitchen is germ free. And then subscribe to our blog for regular hygiene tips like these. You may also like our Office Hygiene Hotspots.

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Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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