Six Important Rules of Etiquette to Remember for Your Office Pantry or Kitchen

If there’s one place in your office that gets more mileage than your conference rooms, workstations, or cubicles, then that area has to be the communal kitchen or pantry. Why this particular place, you might ask? Well, for starters, the office pantry is where you and your colleagues frequently take refuge whenever you’re off to take your coffee and lunch breaks, as well as those moments when you’re feeling a bit stressed and you need a place where you can take a step back and just decompress from the pressures of work and slow down their lifestyle.

In this regard, many employees are often thankful for the presence of a shared space in an efficient workspace where they can relax and have frequent break periods to combat the stress of working for several hours in a day. But too often, employees often take their office kitchens or pantries for granted simply because of the fact that such areas are provided for them by their employers. And when employees abuse this specific privilege, the result is not going to be pleasant considering that pantries and kitchens need constant maintenance.

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Bear in mind that the kitchen or pantry installed in your workplace is something that you and your coworkers need to take responsibility for since you are the ones who frequently inhabit and utilize the space during office hours. That being said, there are certain rules of etiquette that you need to abide by if you want to ensure that your usage of your office pantry will be consistently pleasant. Look to the useful pieces of advice featured below to know exactly what you have to do in order to keep your office kitchen suitable for use.

Refill the coffee every time

For most people, coffee is the necessary fuel that powers them through a typical work day. And because coffee is such an in-demand commodity in the workplace, it’s not thaat surprising to find a group of people milling around the coffee machine stashed inside the pantry so they can fill their mugs and drink containers and get their desired caffeine fix. So what are you to do when you find yourself finishing the remains of the coffee pot?

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The simplest answer to this dilemma is that you should do the courtesy of refilling an empty coffee pot, or if you are able to see that the current batch of coffee left in the pot is about to run out. Do yourself and your colleagues a huge favor by keeping your source of energy available at all times, so that means you need to replenish the coffee machine whenever it’s in danger to running out of the precious black liquid that perks you up on a daily basis.

Be generous and share your treats

People love it when they are able to sample free food, goodies, or treats at the office, and so if you happen to have a surplus of food with you, then you should do your colleagues a solid and share your blessings with them. Not only is it a perfect way for you to not waste any extra food that you can’t consume by yourself, but it also helps in strengthening your interpersonal relationships with your coworkers in the office who’ll appreciate this gesture.

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Do you have a huge jar of cookies stashed at home that you want to give away? Is there a box of pizza in your possession that you have no intention of eating? Are you looking for a way to get rid of a good batch of pasta stored in a giant plastic container without throwing it away in the trash? All you need to do in such scenarios is to leave the goodies in the pantry in full view and tell your colleagues that there’s something special waiting for them.

Respect labeled food in the fridge

Perhaps one of the biggest crimes that anyone can commit within the confines of an office kitchen is stealing food clearly owned by other people. This is a major no-no that you should not even attempt to do because it could easily land you in hot water by the human resources department if you are caught stealing and consuming food that isn’t yours and without the owner’s explicit permission. As such, you should keep this rule always in mind.

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The fridge is often the place where people will store their packed lunches or leftover food, and they will often place labels on the containers with their names on it to indicate that the edible items belong to them. You need to respect their personal boundaries by leaving anything that doesn’t have your name on it alone. And you should label your own food and drinks inside the fridge if you don’t want others to blatantly take it as their own.

No foods with strong odors

The thing about bringing a packed lunch to wotk is that it provides convenience and it saves people money from having to purchase expensive takeout options. But not all packed meals are created equally, and there will be some dishes that will emit unpleasant aromas even though the food is inherently delicious when eaten. This can be particularly evident if such food items will be reheated in the office microwave, and that’s when the trouble will start.

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Even though the scent of your packed meal may smell alright to you, don’t assume that your colleagues will also be agreeable on the matter. In this case, you should set aside your selfishness and be respectful to others by avoiding food that emits strong odors, especially when they are reheated in the microwave. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of complaints from your coworkers because of it.

Observe decorum in a communal space

It can be dangerously easy for you to act really informal inside your office pantry since this is the place where you often share idle conversations with your closest colleagues over lunch or coffee. And it’s almost always in these casual conversations when people tend to get carried away with their subject matter and be excessively expressive with the volume of their voice and their body language. Here’s a helpful tip: always observe proper decorum.

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You need to remember that the office kitchen is a common shared space, and so you can’t just sit there and act so casual like you’re just hanging out at home with your friends. It’s considered rude and inconsiderate of you to take over a communal area at work and treat is as if the whole space is your personal domain where you can do anything you want. Avoid earning the ire of your colleagues and act professional even when you’re in the pantry.

Always clean up after yourself

We’ve all heard the saying that cleanliness is next to godliness, and this is something that you have to take into heart whenever you’re done using your office pantry or kitchen. Even if your company employs a housekeeping, cleaning, or janitorial service, you shouldn’t exclusively rely on them to clean up your messes. You must do your part to help ensure the sanitation of your office kitchen so that it won’t be a hotbed for pests to take residence.

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Simple things like washing your coffee mugs or lunch containers in the kitchen sink is enough to ensure that you’re not contributing to any mess that might accumulate in and around the area. Other helpful tasks include segregating and throwing your garbage in their designated receptacles, disposing of spoiled or rotten food stored in the fridge, wiping down the interior of the microwave, and cleaning stained surfaces with a napkin.

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