Image via Flickr creative commons from The Clovenhoof Society
If you’ve spent any length of time working in an office, you’ve probably noticed just how easy it is for people to rub one another up the wrong way. Looking from the outside in, some of the conflicts that flare up between office workers can seem exceptionally petty. It isn’t until you’re on the inside that you start to realise just how and why colleagues frustrate one another. One of the most common sources of workplace strife is the communal kitchen. While office kitchens are generally very useful and highly valued facilities, they can often be the scene of seemingly endless aggravation. This is why it’s important to take steps to ensure that your workplace kitchen remains clean. After all, it’s really just a basic question of showing respect and consideration for others.
An article from eHow.com observes that as storage space in communal kitchens tends to be somewhat limited, it makes sense for workers to ensure that they leave as little food there as possible. It might be tempting, but for the sake of workplace harmony if nothing else you should at least try to ensure that you don’t occupy too much space. You should ask yourself precisely how much food you actually need to take with you, and consider whether you can afford to take a little less. You should also avoid leaving strong-smelling items of food in the communal fridge. Make sure that the items you do leave in the fridge are unambiguously labelled.
It’s also essential that you clean up after yourself once you’re done. Don’t just leave plates and cups lying around for other people to deal with – this is simply ignorance. If you make a mess while you’re eating, make sure you clean it up. Keep a close eye for any stains, and ensure that they’re cleaned up as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder it’s likely to be to clean said stains. This is really just a matter of basic hygiene. Nobody wants to have to endure an unclean kitchen, and you probably wouldn’t approve if other people failed to uphold basic standards. You should therefore seek to uphold these standards yourself.
Another article from the Laurence Journal-World suggests that it could be a good idea to put someone in charge of overseeing goings-on in the kitchen. This needn’t necessarily mean micro-management, of course. Simply task someone with the responsibility of setting up a cleaning schedule and enforcing an agreed set of rules. This could help to defuse much of the tension that so often surrounds the issue of who’s actually responsible for cleaning up.
Also, if you know you’re likely to be out of the office for a few days – if, for example, you have a holiday planned – you should ensure that you don’t leave any food behind. If you do, not only is it likely to take up space which someone else could be using, but there’s also a chance that the food will start to turn bad before you return. This then leaves your colleagues to deal with the potentially thorny issue of whether or not to throw it away. It might also be worth asking catering equipment suppliers which types of kitchen equipment would be best suited to communal office usage.