10 commandments of kitchen etiquette in the workplace

Photo courtesy of morguefile user dave

Photo courtesy of morguefile user dave

If you work in an office with a break room/kitchenette, you’ve probably got stories to tell. Although I now work from home, I spent nearly 20 years in a corporate environment where the lunchroom was a place of respite—and sometimes revulsion.

Not everyone pays the same amount of attention to cleanliness and the consideration of others. Indeed, the workplace kitchen can become a war zone where colleagues collide. The confrontation could so easily be avoided, however, if only everyone would abide by some key rules.

    Do unto others—The ten commandments of kitchen etiquette

  1. Don’t eat or drink other people’s stuff.
    Common sense, right? Apparently not for some folks. Exception: Food marked “Help yourself” is fair game.
  2.  

  3. When heating any food or beverage in the microwave oven, ALWAYS cover it with a lid or a paper towel.
    And if you’ve still managed to splatter food or liquid, wipe it immediately.
  4.  

  5. Keep your distance if you’re under the weather.
    Ideally you’ll have stayed home if you’re sick. But if you absolutely had to drag yourself into the office, show consideration by keeping your coughing and sneezing away from other people’s food. Try to avoid the workplace kitchen when others are using it and use a paper towel when touching the refrigerator handle, microwave buttons, sink faucet, etc. so you don’t spread germs.
  6.  

  7. Never leave your dirty dishes or silverware in the sink.
    Wash them right away or rinse them well and pack them in a bag so they’re ready to go home with you for a proper cleaning.
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  9. If your food is growing fuzz in the fridge, throw it away.
    It’s not going to magically disappear or grow legs and walk away on its own. The longer it stays, the fuzzier and ickier it will become. Dispose of it promptly. (Exception to this rule below)
  10.  

  11. Regarding the previous rule, if fuzzy food is accompanied by an offensive odor, do not dispose of it in the lunchroom waste can take it to an outdoor dumpster.
  12.  

  13. Don’t dominate the microwave (and the entire lunch hour) with frozen meals that take an eternity to nuke If you regularly bring food that takes longer than five to seven minutes to cook, you’ll be the talk of the office—and not in a good way.
  14.  

  15. Don’t leave your mess on the counter for the next guy.
    As my mom would say, “Were you raised in a barn?” Seriously, clean up after yourself.
  16.  

  17. Keep conversation considerate of sensitive stomachs.
    Details about bodily functions and tales of horrific accidents have no place in the workplace lunchroom or anywhere where anyone is eating. Think before you speak about anything that might make others queasy.
  18.  

  19. NEVER leave a bag of popcorn unattended in the microwave.
    It will always cook faster than you expect it to. But if you really want to tee off your coworkers for an entire afternoon, forget this rule and commence in sending the pervasive stench of burnt Jiffy Pop throughout the office.

Simple, sensible, and definitely not too much to ask, I know these rules could have eliminated some tension and disenchantment in the office where I worked.

Could they help avoid conflict in your office, too? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section. You can also reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Dawn Mentzer

Dawn Mentzer is a freelance writer based in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She works with marketing firms and businesses in a variety of industries all over the U.S. to help them accomplish their content marketing goals. Her specialties include blog content, website copy, and social media content. Besides serving her clients, Dawn offers tips, insight, and encouragement to small biz owners through her blog "The Insatiable Solopreneur." Connect with her on Linkedin, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, and visit her website to learn more about her services.

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4 Responses to 10 commandments of kitchen etiquette in the workplace

  1. Attila Kovacs December 4, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Loved it as allways, brings back some funny memoties. I never though of popcorrn as office supply. But what a great idea.

  2. clara January 20, 2017 at 2:35 am #

    Very good tips and more pls

  3. C. Brock February 22, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    I don’t understand why people are so nasty in public. Do it in your home.

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