Shared Kitchen Etiquette: 9 Rules For A Tidy Office Kitchen
Who this micro-class is for
* Employees and managers
* Anyone using a shared kitchen or canteen
What you’ll learn
* How to keep the shared kitchen clean and tidy
* The most common shared kitchen bad manners
* Less than 8 minutes to complete
About this micro-class
Maintaining a clean and tidy shared kitchen is essential for promoting a positive and healthy work environment.
Shared Kitchen Etiquette
1. Follow general kitchen and table manners
In a shared kitchen, apply the same kitchen and table etiquette rules as in any other situation.
Follow the general safe cooking principles.
When you eat, avoid the most common table manners mistakes. Follow the etiquette rules for using utensils, glasses, and napkins.
2. Treat the shared office kitchen as your own
Avoid anything that you wouldn’t do in your kitchen.
Be considerate of others. Some actions that are acceptable to you may be annoying to others.
Keep utensils, kitchenware, and tableware clean. Use them with respect and do your best to avoid any damage. Try to avoid food and beverage spills.
3. Respect others and wait for your turn
When other people are using the shared kitchen, wait for your turn or come back at a later time. If possible, avoid peak hours such as lunchtime.
Limit your occupancy of the kitchen. Avoid elaborate dishes that require a long preparation time.
Be considerate when you move around. Space in a shared office kitchen is often limited. Avoid fast and abrupt moves, especially when other people are in the kitchen with you.
Apply extra care when you are handling hot, sharp, or fragile items.
4. Label your food
Mark your food items with your name and the date to avoid confusion and prevent items from being discarded.
Write your name on the packaging or container in a clear and visible way.
5. Respect others' belongings
Avoid using someone else’s food, utensils, or equipment without permission.
If possible, avoid touching someone else’s food, or moving containers around.
6. Be mindful of odors
Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods that may disturb others in the workplace. Use the office kitchen to prepare light and easy dishes.
7. Clean after yourself
Wash your dishes, utensils, glassware, and any cookware immediately after use. Rinse any items before placing them in the dishwasher, if one is available. Don’t leave soiled dishes or glassware in the sink.
Wipe down surfaces you’ve used, such as countertops and tables. Clean up any spills and remove crumbs. If you spill anything on the floor, promptly clean it.
Leave appliances as you found them or in even better condition. If you use the microwave oven, cover your dish to prevent spills. If you soil any appliances, wipe them with a damp cloth or paper towel.
Close cabinet doors, drawers, and the fridge.
8. Dispose of trash properly
Use designated trash and recycling bins for your waste.
9. Respect hygiene rules in the shared kitchen
Follow the general personal hygiene rules. Limit the risk of spreading germs. Wash your hands before and after cooking or eating anything.
Avoid touching any business equipment, surfaces, appliances, or kitchenware with soiled hands. Wipe your hands before touching any item.
Don’t use soiled utensils, tableware, or kitchenware to prepare or consume food. Avoid any surface that is not clean.
Shared Kitchen Best Practices
Establish a cleaning schedule
Create a rotating schedule for kitchen cleaning duties among employees to ensure everyone contributes to maintaining cleanliness.
Ensure there are essential items like paper towels, dish soap, and trash bags available, and communicate if supplies are running low.
Establish regular fridge clean-outs
Schedule regular clean-outs of the refrigerator to prevent the buildup of expired or forgotten items.
Report and communicate
Encourage open communication among coworkers about kitchen cleanliness. If there’s an issue, discuss it respectfully.
Report issues to the janitors or office managers. Examples:
- Lack of supplies such as paper towels.
- Broken items or equipment.
- Soiled surfaces or appliances.
- Coworkers regularly neglecting office kitchen etiquette.
Shared Kitchen Worst Mistakes
Leaving a mess behind
Failing to clean up after yourself can create a negative impression and inconvenience others.
Ignoring expiration dates
Leaving expired items in the refrigerator can lead to unpleasant odors and a breeding ground for bacteria.
Be mindful of shared refrigerator and storage space. Avoid taking up more space than necessary.
Not respecting others' dietary restrictions
If you use shared utensils or equipment, be conscious of dietary restrictions and clean thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination.
Overlooking maintenance issues
Report any malfunctioning appliances or maintenance issues promptly to ensure a safe and functional kitchen space.
Resources and useful links
- Etiquette references: safe cooking principles, cutlery etiquette, drinking glasses etiquette, napkins etiquette, dealing with food allergies and intolerances, workplace sustainability rules, office etiquette
- Interesting reads and resources: