No One Ever Cleans the Office Kitchen

It’s the modern-day version of the tragedy of the commons: A nice communal resource that everyone enjoys is slowly and inexorably turned into an unkept mess of sticky residues, crumbs, and someone’s leftovers that no one knows if they should throw away. There’s a sign that says “Please clean up after yourselves; your Mom doesn’t live here,” but the first part seems to be ignored, and the last part couldn’t be more obvious.

Problem 1: It Is No One’s Job

Unless you’ve hired a janitor or commercial cleaning services Miramar Beach FL, it is no one’s job to clean the office kitchen. You might say that it’s everyone’s job, but there’s a well-known business parable about everyone, someone, anyone, and no one. “Everyone thought that Someone could do it. Anyone could have done it, but No One actually did it.”

It isn’t just your employees; this is a common problem. Your staff is employed to do a different job, and that (assuming your hires are a good match for their positions) is the highest and best use of their time.

Problem 2: Poorly Defined Spaces Accumulate Clutter

No one wants to throw away those leftovers because no one knows whether someone wants to save the container. People tend to hold onto stuff when they aren’t sure of its value. Because the office kitchen is used by multiple people, it may contain cups, containers, and utensils belonging to multiple people, with no clear system for organizing the accumulation of clutter.

One solution for office kitchen clutter is to keep a small number of matching cups, bowls, and plates for communal use, and instruct employees to remove their personal belonging from common areas. By limiting kitchen items to a small number of shared pieces, you eliminate the “I don’t know whose it is” problem. Set aside one day per week to clear out any personal items (including food.) Put neglected artifacts in a lost and found box; food should be thrown away.

Oh, and take down that sign. It isn’t helping.