Without a doubt, every office is unique in its own way in terms of the employees and corporate culture. These factors influence the meal culture too meaning that every office has their own unique set of rules in the corporate kitchen.
There are some definite things that you should and shouldn’t do in your office’s kitchen. There are office kitchen rules and etiquette that you should follow. Some may be more obvious to you than others, just don’t be that employee everyone dreads in the kitchen!
Below are eleven office kitchen rules and organization etiquette:
Kitchen Rule #1 – Tidy Up Appliances
Tidying up is one of the most important office kitchen rules. After you use an appliance that everyone else has access to, be sure to tidy up the surrounding area and the appliance itself. No employee will be satisfied if they clean up your mess on their lunch break. No one likes cleaning appliances, if you help out your coworkers, you’ll be the favoured employee of the office!
Kitchen Rule #2 – Keep the Coffee Brewing
If you drank the last cup of coffee, make a new pot for your fellow employees in the office. No one in the office is keen on mornings, make it easier for everyone by ensuring there is always fresh coffee available!
If you are the last one using the coffee machine before 5 o’clock, clean the pot so it’s ready to go the next time everyone comes into work. You can really brighten people’s day by getting the coffee machine prepped so in the morning the first person in the office just has to press the go button!
Kitchen Rule #3 – Organize the Fridge
The most precious space in the office’s kitchen is the fridge! Everyone wants to put their snacks and meals in there, be respectful of others and only use the fridge space you absolutely need. Avoid leaving food in the fridge for too long, if something goes bad that’s yours, clean it up yourself.
Kitchen Rule #4 – Label Foods That Are Yours
Speaking of the fridge, a good office kitchen etiquette is to label the foods that are yours in there. Be sure to package your food appropriately as well, this means plastic containers and saran wrap. Not only is this courteous to your fellow employees, no one is going to “mistake” your delicious lunch as theirs!
Kitchen Rule #5 – Don’t Let Kitchen Supplies Run Out
If you use the last tablespoon of coffee grinds or the final napkin, let the appropriate person know so the kitchen can be restocked. Afterall, the kitchen supplies don’t magically appear!
Kitchen Rule #6 – Understand the Leftover Rules
Every now and then, offices will have some sort of get together with plenty of food. Naturally, there will be leftovers in the fridge and common kitchen area. Just because the leftovers are there doesn’t mean they’re fair game to anyone.
If a message isn’t there or no one told you anyone could help themselves, don’t eat it, no matter how tempting it may be! It is decent office kitchen etiquette to not touch somebody else’s food. You don’t want to be THAT employee who ate something that wasn’t yours!
Kitchen Rule #7 – Clean Up After Yourself
The concept of cleaning up after yourself in the office kitchen shouldn’t be new to you, especially in shared spaces such as offices. You don’t want to clean anyone else’s mess, why should someone have to clean yours? Keep the space clean like you want it and everyone else wants it!
Anytime you use a space and leave a mess, clean it up, whether its a spill, crumbs or leftover trash. Also, never leave dirty dishes in the sink or on counters, it’s nobody’s responsibility to clean them but your own.
Kitchen Rule #8 – Strong Odor Awareness
No one wants to walk into the office kitchen and smell something so strong they can nearly taste it. Try not to bring foods with smells that will linger for a long time, for example, fish. Perhaps employees at your office need a big public service announcement with the words “strong odor awareness” in bold, bright letters!
Kitchen Rule #9 – Don’t Eat What’s Not Yours
Is there anything worse than walking to the fridge to eat something you’ve been thinking about all day only to find someone else ate it?! It is incredibly frustrating and inconsiderate to your fellow coworkers. In addition, what goes around comes around, you don’t want it to happen to you too!
Kitchen Rule #10 – Table Manners are a Must
As comfortable as you may get with your coworkers, it is still important to have good table manners. Whether it’s a casual Friday lunch in the office or a formal meal out with a client, table manners are a must! You don’t want to make others feel awkward or uncomfortable from improper manners at the table.
Kitchen Rule #11 – The Office Isn’t Your Home
This should go without saying, but the office is not your home. At home, you might be okay with a dirty and cluttered kitchen. However, your office is a shared space, not everyone likes to walk into a messy kitchen. Learn to respect this fact about office spaces and maintain professionalism by tidying up after yourself!