The office kitchen may sometimes look like a lawless and chaotic jungle littered with moldy, rotten apples, empty Starbucks cups, spilled Canderel sugar, and a bunch of half-empty Coke bottles from the previous day’s office party. On top of this, a colleague from your department realizes that his yogurt has gone missing. Not to mention that your manager is going mad and tells everyone off because there has been a dozen dishes in the sink for almost a week.

Coexisting in a workplace kitchen harmoniously calls for a communal mentality and diplomacy; considering the hygiene of every single colleague you are sharing the kitchen with.

Obeying basic office kitchen rules says a lot about who you are and what attributes make you a discerning employee. Have a close look at these office kitchen etiquette rules to help you create a personalised cleaning plan for your workplace …

1. The kitchen is not the place to gossip
It might put your career at risk if your boss or other curious ears within range overhear your story of how you just took a two-hour nap in the toilet cubicle. Also, refrain from commenting on the dietary habits of other colleagues. It’s none of your business whether the boss’s secretary nibbles dehydrated kale. Keep your opinions of others’ and their consumption habits to yourself.

2. Respect the limited fridge space
Occupying space in the fridge should be fair game to anyone. Don’t forget that other people have lunches and leftovers too, so don’t hog. You don’t have to keep all your snacks and beverages in the refrigerator at once; one or two should suffice. Also, if a particular item is sitting in the fridge for several days, don’t hesitate to throw it away (or donate it, if it’s nonperishable.)

3. No stealing people’s lunches, snacks, or fancy passion fruit water
Thievery is unacceptable. There is no faster way to earn your colleagues’ eternal hostility than to snatch their food. If you’re hungry, resist temptation by hunting and gathering your own (or popping into the local shop for some snacks). Even if someone has brought in cupcakes to share with the whole office, don’t think that “the whole office” means only you.

4. Mind food pungency
If you are a fan of chicken madras, don’t assume that this is the case for everyone else. In fact, there are cultural differences in terms of acceptable food pungency. So it is wise to avoid storing strongly scented food that can transfer its smell to another colleague’s food in the refrigerator. Use a double layered storage bag to ensure your food’s odour will not contaminate everything else there.

5. Don’t leave an empty coffeepot
If you are the last to drink a cup of coffee, make a new pot. Don’t leave just a few drips in it leaving the next person with a caffeine lurch when they desperately need coffee. Find out what are your office’s expectations on coffee making after 5 p.m., and if extended work days are the norm, make sure you fill the coffeepot.
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