Most office workers will be familiar with dirty kitchen syndrome – a situation where one or two (maybe more) employees leave messes in the staff kitchen for other people to clean up. Examples might include:
- Unwashed mugs and dirty plates left in the sink.
- Bits of leftover sandwich lying around.
- Half-eaten cup-a-soup or other meals left on the bench.
- Spatters of tea and coffee on the floor or benchtop.
- Milk left out of the fridge after use.
- Empty tuna cans left out, causing a fishy smell.
- Overflowing rubbish bins.
- One or two people using up all the milk or other supplies.
- Staff members taking over the fridge with their lunch or supplies.
- Food left in the fridge for weeks or months on end.
- Employees helping themselves to food belonging to other people.
These types of things can be immensely annoying for whoever is on kitchen duty for the week, and can also make the staff kitchen uncomfortable, unhygienic and unpleasant for people to use.
It might also be not a very good look for those times when visitors come into the business premises – especially if they happen to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water or a cup of coffee!
Workplace kitchen solutions
Very often in workplaces the emphasis is on productivity and efficiency, while such a matter as kitchen etiquette is put on the backburner. However, risk factors for dirty office kitchens may include foodborne illness, slips or falls from floor spills, and the potential for poor workplace relationships.
So for reasons of health and safety, if nothing else, it’s vital to have healthy and fair kitchen practices in place, and to encourage workers to clean up after themselves rather than expecting someone else to do it.
Suggested solutions for clean kitchens:
- Provide adequate facilities such as cleaning cloths, dishwashing liquid, paper towel, rubbish and recycling bins (large enough to avoid overflowing), bin liners, an adequately-sized fridge, dishwasher, and sufficient room for employees to comfortably enjoy their lunch breaks. You might also want to consider providing cling wrap and labels so that people can put their name on their own food items.
- Draw up a kitchen policy – this should be displayed where it can be easily seen by all staff members. It does not necessarily need to be long and complex. It might cover such aspects as the importance of rinsing dishes and placing them in the dishwasher after use, returning milk to the fridge, notifying whoever is in charge of ordering of when supplies are getting low, and generally cleaning up after oneself. A cleaning roster may also be required – however it’s important to make sure it is shared among both genders (and not always left to the ladies!).
- Have regular fridge cleanouts – set a roster for cleaning out the fridge, notifying employees of when it going to occur so they can remove their items if necessary.
- Hire professional office cleaning services – even in kitchens where staff always clean up after themselves, professional cleaning still remains a high priority. Professional cleaners cover activities not usually handled by people in the workplace – such as the sanitising of benchtops, tables and chairs, floor mopping and/or vacuuming, disinfecting door handles and switches, emptying and relining rubbish bins, and other services.
Finally, to keep your workplace and staff facilities in a sparkling clean and hygienic condition, make kitchen etiquette a priority and also ensure that your premises is regularly cleaned by a professional cleaning service. Contact us for more information or for a quote if required for our office cleaning services across Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.