Maintaining a clean office kitchen is a tough task, but it’s vital to the wellbeing of your workplace. A disorganized, messy kitchen is distracting for workers, looks bad to clients who may be passing through, and, in the worst cases, it can attract unwanted pests.
In this post, we’ll give you all the tips and tools you need to keep a clean office kitchen, including checklists, downloadable kitchen signs, and advice on how to send an office cleanliness memo.
A clean kitchen encourages kitchen use. No one wants to use a dirty kitchen, and no one should have to. After investing in important wellness activities, don’t let a messy kitchen stand in the way of your employees enjoying a healthy lunch.
When the kitchen is clean and organized, your team is more likely to use it. This means fewer skipped meals and fewer unhealthy takeout orders.
Your office is a reflection of your business. An untidy office presents a disorganized, lazy, and uncaring attitude. Surely, these attributes don’t represent your brand’s values.
Clients, customers, potential hires, community members, and other businesses may pass through your office space at any time. Don’t let your messy kitchen—or a mess in any other part of your office—be what they remember about your business. Reflect your company values in every aspect of your business, including your kitchen and break rooms.
A messy kitchen is a massive distraction. Consider how it feels when you have a messy kitchen at home. It’s stressful. It’s gross. And it takes up valuable real estate in your brain. You want your team to be able to put all of their energy into doing their best work. They don’t need to be distracted by piles of crusty dishes, moldy mystery containers, or an ant outbreak.
It’s in the best interest of productivity that you ensure all areas of your office are clean, organized, and ready to serve their purpose.
Think of the nightmare it will be to deal with a bug, insect, or rodent infestation. Although you can’t prevent every unfortunate event, you can do your part to ensure your office doesn’t become a community center for the creepy crawlies.
A messy office kitchen will be filled with tasty little crumbs that will attract all sorts of unwanted guests. Make sure you don’t leave a snack out for pests by cleaning your office kitchen on a regular basis. Ensure there is a regular schedule for surface level cleaning as well as a larger, more in-depth cleaning every few months for tough to reach places, like behind the fridge or inside the cupboards.
The office fridge can quickly become a scary place where employees fear to tread. What’s in that container from last year? Where did that liquid come from? Was this once… tuna? And who’s fish stir fry left that awful lingering smell?
No one wants to deal with old mystery containers. It is critical that you create a routine schedule for cleaning the fridge so that it doesn't get out of hand. It’s better to clean the fridge regularly than to have a big moldy mess at the end of the year.
To help your whole team maintain a clean, organized, and odorless refrigerator, set boundaries and guidelines for using the fridge.
Decide on your office kitchen and break room etiquette so that everyone is on the same page. Share your etiquette rules far and wide, and don’t forget to inform any new hires so that there’s no confusion about what’s expected.
Include topics like what your recycling policies are, what happens when the coffee is finished, and how shared items are restocked. No one wants to arrive at work Monday morning to find out there’s no coffee left.
Once you establish your break room and kitchen rules, post them in an area visible to everyone so that each employee is reminded of your company policies. Post instructions about garbage and recycling above those designated areas and post information about coffee and tea beside the coffee maker.
Answer any questions someone might have. What items are recyclable? How often does the garbage get picked up? When should someone make more coffee? How do you order more of a finished kitchen item?
Posting etiquette rules will help your team, new members, and any visitors keep on top of kitchen protocol.
When in doubt, have a little fun. Consider posting an office kitchen cleaning meme or an image of your company mascot asking people to clean up after themselves.
Create a break room or kitchen cleaning checklist so that no task is forgotten. Consider what cleaning tasks need completing and how often they need to be executed.
Your cleaning checklist will be unique to your office needs, but here are a few ideas:
Ensure cleaning tasks are spread evenly across your team. No one wants to get stuck cleaning the coffee maker every month, and no one person should end up doing the dishes every night.
Many hands make light work. If your team spreads out the cleaning responsibilities and everyone does their part, it won’t feel like such a daunting responsibility for any one person.
Cleaning the office isn’t a task for one department or for low-level positions. It’s something everyone in the office should participate in. To help your workers feel like they are truly part of a team, ensure everyone, no matter what their position, is involved in keeping the office clean.
You don’t need to do it all yourself. If you’re finding keeping the office kitchen or break room clean is too much of a burden on you and your team, hire a cleaning service to help you.
Consider the value versus the cost of adding this service. How much will it free up your team? How might a cleaning service boost morale around the office?
If you do decide to hire an external cleaning service, ensure that everyone in the office understands what tasks the cleaning service is responsible for, and what the team still needs to take care of. The cleaning service won’t be able to navigate mystery fridge containers, and they won’t be there to refill the coffee machine or do the dishes every day. Having a service means some of the cleaning burden is lifted, but everyone still has a daily responsibility to keep the kitchen tidy.
Whenever you address your staff about cleaning the kitchen, whether it’s in person, at a meeting, or in a cleaning memo, lead with asking instead of demanding. People are more likely to listen to the request if it’s actually a request. No one wants to feel like someone is scolding them for something they haven’t done yet. Asking your team members to pitch in gives them a welcome sense of autonomy—they get to choose to help.
If you ask your team to follow the guidelines and help with the responsibilities required of maintaining the office kitchen, they will be more likely to want to help and get involved.
Lead your team by sharing helpful cleaning tips. As a business owner or office manager, you need to provide your team with all the tools and advice they need to properly maintain the office.
Saying thank you is important. When you ask your team to take on kitchen responsibilities or to change break room etiquette, don’t forget to say thank you.
You’re all in this office together, so show your gratitude every step of the way.
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