Kitchen Wars: How to Professionally and Respectfully Share the Office Kitchen
While I was searching for the first location of WORK., one of the priorities was an area for an office kitchen. I have been to many co-working spaces that didn’t even have a refrigerator, so co-workers weren’t able to easily bring their lunches to work. Many offices simply want to avoid the upkeep and chaos of storing a ton of un-labeled plastic containers. However, I believe that if an office discusses the expectations of maintaining the office kitchen with co-workers, this area will be very well accepted and appreciated by workers.
1. Label everything. Let’s be honest. The likelihood of co-workers using the same Tupperware is highly likely. It is very easy to have a hard time trying to find your chicken parmesan in a sea of Tupperware. So, I recommend keeping a roll of masking tape and markers directly next to the refrigerator. These items will allow co-workers to label their name on all of their containers before placing it the refrigerator. Also, try to encourage co-workers to also write the date on their containers. This will allow co-workers to see how long the food has been in the fridge.
2. Don’t toss without confirmation. A lot of drama can occur if co-workers start to throw out other’s food without permission. Although the container may very well have been in the refrigerator for over two weeks, it is better to ask the co-worker directly if it is o.k. to toss their food. As an office, I recommend that you can decide on a policy, such as disposing any container that has been in the refrigerator for more than two weeks. This will ensure that no one takes it personally if their food is thrown out.
3. Do your part, clean up. This may seem pretty obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of co-workers complaining about another co-workers messiness. At the end of the day, you have to acknowledge that not everyone has the same level of cleaning expectation. Although this may be extremely frustrating, I recommend encouraging co-workers to clean by making cleaning products accessible and visible. At the office, everyone is an adult. So make sure to do your part to clean up.