If your workspace has a communal kitchen, keeping this area clean and sanitized is essential for the health and well-being of your employees. With so much traffic coming in and out, a dirty kitchen can be a major hazard that can easily cause your employees to get sick. Luckily, regular cleaning can help ensure this area stays free from germs and bacteria.
While many people are familiar with basic kitchen cleaning, certain aspects of an office kitchen differ from a home kitchen. After all, determining how to maintain a clean environment is challenging when staff is rushing in and out to get back to work. To help you solve this dilemma, read on for six office kitchen rules for a tidy workplace!
#1 Remove Food from the Fridge Weekly
If you allow your employees to put their food in the fridge, removing those items at the end of each work week is essential. If left unattended, food can spoil and create an undesirable odor. And nothing is more distasteful than opening the workplace fridge on a hungry stomach, only to be greeted by the stench of spoiled food.
In addition to causing odor, spoiled food can cause mold growth which can be a serious health hazard to your workforce. If inhaled, mold can cause severe respiratory ailments. Removing it can also be time-consuming. For example, if an old piece of Tupperware is full of mold, the spores have likely spread to other areas of the fridge. At this point, you must discard all food in the refrigerator and disinfect the interior.
Fortunately, preventing mold is as easy as instituting a policy that all food must be removed at the end of each day—with a weekly cleanout at the end of each week. If the food is not removed, toss it. Once you institute the policy, send a company-wide email informing your workforce of the change. You can also place a note in the kitchen, ideally on the fridge, so anyone using the refrigerator knows the policy.
When disinfecting the fridge’s interior, read the label on the cleaning chemicals and follow all instructions to ensure you do not unintentionally leave any harmful chemicals behind.
#2 Be Mindful of Allergies
If you or your employees use the kitchen to reheat food or engage in any cooking, it’s important to remember that many people have food allergies. When an employee comes into contact with a food they are allergic to, such as peanuts, they may become sick or suffer a reaction.
The same principle applies to food odors. Food with a strong scent can be very disruptive to people sensitive to smell, as it can cause sneezing and other nasal disruptions. If your employees plan on cooking any of the following foods in the office kitchen, you should request that they check with their co-workers before doing so:
- Fermented foods
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Food containing vinegar
- Burnt popcorn
- Cauliflower and brussel sprouts
When using the kitchen, keep in mind the communal nature of the space. It should be a place where workers go to satiate their appetites and recharge before returning to the floor. It is essential to respect everyone’s individual needs so you don’t disrupt their productivity.
If you know one of your employees has a food allergy, you should request that your other employees either refrain from bringing that food to work or avoid storing it in a space where someone could unintentionally come in contact with it.
#3 Keep Appliances Clean
The odds are that your office kitchen contains a variety of communal appliances. These are handy for preparing food and drink throughout the day but can become sources of bacteria and germs if not cleaned regularly. The best way to avoid this is to require your employees to clean each appliance after each use. First, however, you must be conscious of the extra time it takes to keep things clean, so set realistic expectations. For example, everyone must cover their food with a paper towel before using the microwave. You can also leave cleaning wipes nearby, so there are no excuses for leaving a mess behind.
You will want to provide clear instructions on the proper protocol for cleaning each appliance. Place these instructions in the kitchen so employees can see them and everyone knows the standard. Implementing the principle of leaving something cleaner than you found it is a good idea that will keep everything in optimal condition for the next person. In addition to the appliances, your employees should be aware of crumbs and debris that may have fallen off their food onto the countertops or communal tables.
#4 Clean Any Spills Promptly
As with cleaning the appliances, your employees should also be instructed to clean any spills, like sauces, coffee, and tea. Spills not adequately cleaned up can leave unsightly stains that can become more difficult to clean later. In addition, some spills, like those left by coffee and tea, can permanently stain your tables, floors, and countertops.
When a spill leaves residue behind, inspect it after the initial cleaning. If there is any remaining residue, take the extra time to ensure it is removed. It is especially important to clean up any spills on the floor. This is because liquids and foods on the floor can pose a safety hazard to unsuspecting visitors. If someone slips on the floor while on the job, you could be liable for their injuries.
By requiring your employees to clean their spills, you can keep your workplace kitchen looking pristine every day. After all, the kitchen should lend a feeling of relaxation and sophistication, so employees can recharge while they eat. Think of it as a positive feedback loop that helps your business stay productive.
#5 Keep Supplies Stocked and Ready
For any kitchen, you need to have the right amenities. This makes the space more functional and can keep it cleaner. For example, having a steady supply of paper towels will ensure your employees have something to clean up after themselves.
However, providing amenities means your employees must replace them when they run out. This will require you to set expectations so they understand how to replace supplies safely and efficiently. For example, whoever drinks the last cup of coffee in the pot could be responsible for cleaning the pot and making a new batch of coffee. Or, whoever uses the last paper towel is responsible for grabbing a new roll from the supply closet and placing it in the kitchen.
However, you will want to make sure your employees can reliably access those amenities all the time. This means ensuring any relevant supplies are consistently stocked and not just stocked some of the time. To do this, you must account for what is used throughout the week and have a system in place that alerts you when stock is low. Again, having amenities your employees know they can count on can avoid creating frustration.
#6 Know Your Team
Understanding your team’s unique needs will help you know what to stock in your workplace kitchen. For example, is your workforce large enough to warrant the latest and greatest refrigerator, or would something smaller be adequate? What about the cabinets? To optimize your workplace kitchen, consider the needs of your team against your available resources. Here are a few items to keep in mind.
Cabinets and Storage
Consider how many people on your team will be using the kitchen simultaneously. The answer to this question will be a good indicator of how much storage space you should have. Whether you install hanging cabinets or additional cabinets next to the sink, having enough storage space is crucial for keeping your kitchen clean and clutter-free.
Does your office have a high volume of dishes? If so, you might want to invest in a dishwasher. If not, cleaning dishes in the sink should suffice. Either way, you’ll want employees to have a dedicated place to wash their dishes, along with a policy that stops dirty dishes from piling up in the sink.
When selecting a refrigerator, you want enough space for your workforce to store food. This means you’ll need to carefully research different brands and choose the fridge that will give your team adequate storage space.
The kitchen is a place to refuel and recharge. Both of these tasks require optimal seating. Additionally, if your employees eat lunch together, they will likely want to socialize. This is why it helps to have a dedicated seating area with chairs and tables. Striving to make the kitchen a more sociable, relaxing space can positively impact employee morale and productivity.
Does your sink have enough room to wash dishes? Do all of the components work as they should? In addition to the sink’s interior, you should consider investing in a drying rack if many dishes will be washed by hand.
Providing an assortment of dishes for your employees to use throughout the day will reduce the wasteful use of paper plates and cups. If you are thinking about investing in dishes for your workplace kitchen, here are some suggestions:
While it does require extra cleaning, investing in the proper silverware can reduce your overall trash volume.
Keep Your Office at Its Best with 360clean
We hope you enjoyed these six office kitchen rules for a tidy workplace! At 360clean, commercial office cleaning is nothing new to us. For nearly two decades, we have offered health-focused office cleaning services for businesses throughout the United States. In that time, we think we’ve perfected the art of keeping businesses looking their best.
We understand that safeguarding your employees’ and customers’ health and well-being is your top priority. That’s why we deploy our proven JaniMed® system, which consists of specialized training, hospital-grade disinfectants, touch surface disinfection, and state-of-the-art equipment, like micro-fiber technology and Hepa Vacuums. The best part is that we can often implement our JaniMed® system at the same price or even less than your current commercial cleaning service.
To learn more about our commercial cleaning services, contact us today for a free quote. Thanks for stopping by our blog; we hope to help you soon!