The office kitchen can be a great oasis in the workplace where people can enjoy brief moments away from the desk. After all, it is usually the spot where the famed water cooler lives. However, if not kept up properly, the kitchen can turn into a house of horrors in an instant.
Because of the communal nature of the area and predominance of water, like the office bathroom, mold and poor air quality can quickly become a nuisance. Add food, dishes and appliances and you’ve got yourself the ingredients for nastiness.
The first order of business would be to lay down some ground rules for the kitchen – for example, clean up after yourself, wash your dishes after using, replace paper towels if you use the last one, rinse out the coffee pot if you are last to use, etc… You would think this would not be necessary, since everyone is an adult in the work environment. People may still not follow along, but it at least puts folks on notice.
The next item to address would be to make sure there is always sufficient stock of cleaning supplies – paper towels, sponges, cleaning spray (409, Windex, etc…) – to allow people to clean up after themselves. Make sure the supplies are accessible, so if you run out of an item, they can easily be replenished. A good idea may be to appoint someone in the office – office manager – the point person to communicate with about cleaning supplies needed in the office.
Lastly, if your office kitchen has a dishwasher, this can present responsibility conflicts (aka whose job is it to empty the dishwasher) as mentioned in the above ground rules. To help reduce any squabbles, you can try a rotating schedule of people to empty the washer. Otherwise, you may have to rely on the goodness of people to empty the dishwasher when they see the dishes are clean.
Regardless of the size of your office, cleanliness should always be top of mind. People looking after themselves and each other in the workplace will go a long way to maintaining a healthy office space.