Office Kitchen Ettiquette


Image from LeisterGame

Do you share an office kitchen? We have a large kitchen with two dishwashers between 80 staff. It is funny to watch how people interact with the dirty dishes. I’m not happy about having to stack or empty the dishwasher but it annoys me when people consistently place dirty mugs in a machine that is full of clean dishes that haven’t been put away or when I can’t find a clean fork for my lunch. This happens at least once every two days. I figure some items are washed several times before someone puts them away. I’m also amazed at how inefficiently people stack a dishwasher. There is definitely an optimum stacking design but it seems that the easiest to option is to opens the door and place your item in the closest available spot rather than filling from the back or with other like items. We have signage on the dishwashers to let people know which machine is full of dirty or clean dishes and which machine is running. The single most effective tool that we used was duct tape. We taped the machine closed so that items could not be retrieved mid-cycle and once clean, it would be a clear indicator to empty the machine. Turns out the guerrilla duct tape tactics, while effective, were considered unfriendly….


Image from MyDoorSign

We also have disposable mugs next to the ceramic mugs. There are people who despite working in the office consistently use disposable cups. I often ask people if they’d really like a disposable cup or if they could use a ceramic mug. We can’t take the disposable mugs away as the crew often come in to make a a cup of coffee too. I’d like to move the disposable mugs to the same cupboard as the ceramic mugs instead of being on the bench. I would hope that people would then make a conscious choice as opposed to just grabbing the closest mug.


Image from Wanelo

I’ve also noticed a distinct difference between the attitudes towards kitchen cleaning between our company and our client who we share the fifties with and also between the sexes. Our clients staff are less likely to stack or empty the dishwasher. They have a staffing level approximately one third of ours so it makes sense that I notice them cleaning the kitchen less. In terms of gender, there are almost ten times as many men as women but women tend to be the ones that clean the kitchen. I’m not sure if it is due to traditional gender roles being played out in a non-gender traditional environment or the inbuilt genetic disposition of women to notice and address mess. I’m not one to sit on the sidelines so if I notice someone leaving an empty cup, I’ll mention it. I’ll also ask someone to put the dishwasher on when they’ve finished with their plates.

Do you share an office kitchen? Do you have any hints or tips for keeping it clean? Do rosters actually work?

x S

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1 Comment

Filed under Day-to-Day, Domestic Goddess, Relationships

One response to “Office Kitchen Ettiquette

  1. Barbara Mulder

    I share a kitchen at work. After 7 years of trying to get people to clean up after themselves I have come to realise that my blood pressure is more important than a clean work kitchen. Those that I know are the worse offenders I treat with the contempt that they deserve and pity their wives or girlfriends or partners. because they have to live with the fact that that person doesn’t care about cleanliness or hygiene. be it personal or otherwise. The other thing is that you can put up signs or ask them to do something but that to is either ignored or they tell you they “can’t” for what ever reason. If they do, do the right thing it is only for a short time then it will revert back to what it was because lets face it unfortunately not everybody is brought up with the same values as you are and that is their loss.
    The only thing that I have learnt is that I know that at certain times the kitchen where I work is clean and tidy because I have done it. And unless they have some sort of “company” pride then they aren’t going to clean it.

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