Seven ways to combat chaos in the office kitchen


If your office kitchen is in danger of being a health hazard, then something needs to be done. Not only could staff fall ill but also a lack of procedures could lead to a decline in morale and an increase in acrimony among colleagues. And in a busy office, leaving it to the cleaners at the end of the day is rarely good enough. Indeed, in a famous Private Eye case, former TV presenter of Two Fat Ladies, Jennifer Paterson, once was so exasperated with filthy coffee cups, she was sacked for throwing the whole bowl of them out the top floor London window! She was later re-instated.

So why not follow these tips for cleaning up your office kitchen:

1. Set a policy

If kitchen etiquette is a problem at your office, or you want to pre-empt trouble, you should draw up a written policy that lays out the rules. Make sure the policy is included in the employee manual and highlighted during induction sessions for new staff and discussed at staff meetings.

2. Post the rules

Publish your policy in the kitchen / breakout area where everyone can see it. People seen breaking the rules should be reported to a manager rather than confronted directly.

3. Create a calendar

Set a schedule for divvying up kitchen duties, such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, wiping down surfaces or checking the fridge. You have to choose a method that works for your business – rotating the chores or asking that each worker takes responsibility for cleaning up their own mess have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is about identifying what best works for you.

5. Put someone in charge

Appointing one person to oversee the cleanliness of the kitchen may be an option. That individual shouldn’t be afraid to tell people to be considerate and to speak directly to the offenders.

6. Put up a sign.

An effective approach is to post a sign that says something along the lines of “I’m not your cleaner. Leave this area clean”.

7. Withdraw the privilege

Last resort saloon but a temporary withdrawal of office kitchen facilities after warning with no improvement can work wonders. A permanent withdrawal is also an option with some Jersey employers banning anything except water. Hopefully, you don’t need to go this far as you might be surprised how such a small thing like a cuppa or caffeine fix is a necessity for good staff morale.

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