The office kitchen is a loaded topic. It is laden with issues, fraught with territorial claims and nothing makes the emails fly like a mess in a communal microwave that’s left untended.
If you partake in the pleasures of your office kitchen (the fridge, coffee maker, garbage facilities, sink, microwave, etc.), here are some ground rules.
If you suspect your office kitchen is particularly in need of an etiquette assessment, post this and see if conditions improve. If not, I can make a cameo in person, if promised a latte.
- If you leave evidence of your presence, clean it up. Simple as that. No one should know where you buttered your toast, spilled your coffee or overheated your soup until it exploded.
- Use the microwave with diplomacy. Please, if you bring fish to work, it should be in a chilled form (sandwich, wrap or sushi).
- Keep track of your fridge contents and throw things out religiously. Really, if that leftover pizza didn’t look good two days ago, are you really going to eat it tomorrow?
- If you use the last of something, get more. If you take the last cup of coffee, make another pot. If you pour the last drop of milk into your tea, go pick up a pint on your lunch. Common courtesy and tact that will hopefully be adopted by everyone, so you’re never stuck without milk.
- Never ever help yourself to something without knowing if it is indeed for sharing. A man in my office with a fabulous sense of humour (and a taste for reprisal) sent out this company email* when he was scorned:
To whoever ate the pineapple in the tupperware container in the fridge, I brought that in from home.
I’m happy to share with you. Did you like it?
*disclaimer: my corporate culture is completely conducive to such casual email banter. Send such emails at your own discretion and good conscience.