Mugs and Memos: Kitchen Etiquette for the Workplace

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Mugs and Memos: Kitchen Etiquette for the Workplace

employees enjoying spending time togeter while drinking coffee in office kitchen

shutterstock_152942864-300x200There is nothing fun about going to make a cuppa on your 15 minute break at work, and discovering that every mug in the shared kitchen is dirty. Or worse yet – finding the remnants of an employee’s leftover lunch, green and mouldy at the back of the fridge.

When it comes to kitchen etiquette in the workplace, everyone is responsible and should do their fair share. When people are lazy with cleaning a shared workspace, it can cause disharmony and upset among the staff. Even though the most people treat the shared space with respect and know that its just basic manners to clean up after themselves, creating and implementing a set of rules or policies is a great way for staff to know exactly what is expected of them and create harmony in the workplace once again.

A good policy is simple, clear and straight to the point, as this stops any misunderstandings. Ensure new employees are provided with a copy, and that they understand everything it contains. To help staff work together with keeping the kitchen clean, here a few ideas to that can be easily implemented in any workplace.

  • Place a small white board somewhere in the kitchen for staff to record any supplies that are low. This makes it much easier for whoever is responsible for supplies. This includes basic cleaning products, sprays and cloths.
  • Never underestimate the power of labels. Make clear labels for where things belong in the kitchen, such as crockery, cups, supplies etc. This way people have no excuse for putting things in the wrong place.
  • Invest in good plastic storage containers for biscuits, teabags, sugar and any other perishable shared food items.
  • Ensure there is a supply of cling wrap or food covers for employees to use with the kitchen microwave, and make sure staff know to wipe away any spatters immediately.
  • Discourage staff to bring pungent or strong smelling food. It’s not fair for one person to stink the whole office and the fridge out.
  • Designate a set day for the fridge to be cleared out, regardless of whether it is labelled or not: anything still there after the set day is thrown out.
  • Implement a ‘you dirty it, you clean it’ policy, as this basic idea can be applied many areas of the workplace: employee desks and work stations, dishes and cutlery, the microwave, shared furniture (dining table, chairs) etc.
  • Also make sure staff know that if something is empty, they should refill it for the next person. This can also be reversed to ‘if it is full, empty it’ with overflowing rubbish bins, or at least contact the person responsible for waste management.
  • Employers should always be aware of how much space their lunch takes up in the fridge. If you have a large company and there still isn’t enough space, consider a larger fridge.
  • Make sure staff know that if it doesn’t belong to them, they are not to touch it. Provide stickers and markers for staff to label their lunch if needed.
  • Display a roster for the weekly cleaning of shared spaces that are not the responsibility of the cleaner.

By encouraging all employees to be more courteous of one another, workplace relationships are strengthened through peace and harmony – and this can only lead to better productivity all round.

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