Don’t wait for Friday. Why today? And who drew the short straw this week?

Office kitchenette, break-out area, staff room, or your home office.

The most vigilant of home chefs and domestic food safety experts are let down by the common rogues who treat what should be a social, enjoyable common area with no respect. A breeding ground for bacteria among dirty benches, food scraps, tea towels and dish cloths, these popular areas become not only an eye-sore but a source of contamination.

Unrecognisable Tupperware contents. Cottage cheese- but isn’t that the milk jug? A dishwasher looking like a bull actually made it through the china shop. Spills, paper towel, mouldy fruit and overflowing bins. Enough! Follow the simple rules (kindly shared by one of Australia’s largest law firms’ ‘tea lady’) below for a productive, relaxing break-out area every employee can be proud of!

  • The dishwasher. Fill it. Empty it. In the meantime, scrape, rinse and stack plates and cups in beautiful neat piles an artist would be proud of! Allocate a staff member or staff section to unstack, and rotate the roster.
  • Don’t wait for ‘clean out’ day– most commonly a Friday. If everyone takes responsibility for their own fridge deposits, and either takes home or throws away the waste/leftovers each day, clean out day (and the process for selecting the ‘victim’) goes away.
  • Wipe the bench with a clean cloth after each cup of tea/coffee. Even in a small office, this could be up to 20 wipes per day. Keep spray and wipe in sight on the bench. Replace cloths accordingly. Make tea-towel maintenance a competition to see who can bring the 2 ‘best’ on rotating Mondays. (think Vinnies and Grandma‚Äôs cupboards)
  • Follow 2 rules paramount in any restaurant kitchen. The first, the 2 and 4 rule. Food out (at room temp) for less than 2 hours can be returned to the fridge. Between 2 and 4 hours it can be eaten (but not returned to fridge), and after 4hrs should be discarded. The second, if in doubt, chuck it out. Don’t leave suspect leftovers for unsuspecting co-workers.
  • Lastly, culture, and not what’s growing on the fridge seals. Work hard for a fortnight involving the whole staff, set the benchmark, and take responsibility for the space.

Time to clean the kitchen?

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