Ensuring the kitchen at the office is clean results in a healthy workforce and fewer germs, especially during the high flu season. The dirtiest place in the office is not the loo, but the kitchen! With so many viruses floating about and surfaces that could be contaminated, it is best to be safe rather than have regrets.
Washing hands every time you enter the kitchen or come from the bathroom is a good habit to get into. Did you know that if surfaces have germs or even worse, viruses, that they can live there for a couple of hours and even days? Disinfecting all surfaces and washing hands all the time will keep diseases, illnesses and viruses at bay.
Harmful germs and microorganisms can be found to thrive in the microwave, tap handles, water dispenser, vending machines, refrigerators, the kitchen sponge and cloths as well as all communal items.
A clean kitchen will keep everyone healthy at work, thus fewer sick days taken off:
- Replace the communal sponge regularly. Bacteria thrive in warm environments, so ditch the sponge, brush and dishcloths regularly and replace these with new ones
- Rinse your lunch container or plates and wipe with a paper towel; best to avoid those nasty sponges at all costs wherever possible
- Pop your lunch container in your dishwasher at home to ensure all germs are taken care of
- Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down handles of the fridge and microwave – avoid handling these wherever possible
- Never touch your face in the kitchen (or elsewhere) – viruses are transferred from person to person by touching your nose or eyes through the mucous membranes
- The microwave is a breeding ground for germs – wipe the microwave down with a strong disinfectant each time you heat your food, or better still, avoid using the microwave altogether. Instead, bring soup and hot drinks during winter in a flask that you keep specifically for this use and in summertime bring your own bottle of water
- Use bleach when the cups are being washed in the sink, and better still, bring your own mug to the office every day
- The dustbin should be kept closed ALL THE TIME. Germs spread easily, so keep this clean and wiped down with a disinfectant
- Get everyone in the habit of keeping their desks clean, their hands clean and during flu season, wipe door handles and keypads down with disinfectant wipes
The kitchen in the office could be a big problem area where you work particularly if everyone does not adhere to basic hygiene guidelines and basic kitchen etiquette – we refer to manners where you respect everyone and everyone’s things.
Keeping your office kitchen manner in check is important for good relationships in the office. As mentioned above it is important to keep the kitchen clean, especially as you are one of many and if everyone left even a little bit of mess you will end up with a great big problem. Always throw your trash away and wipe up any spills you have left behind. Whatever you bring to work you should remove it at the end of the day – it is never ok to leave a sticky mess for others to take care of.
Fridge space is there for the things that need to be kept cold and nothing else, and only eat and drink what belongs to you no matter how delicious another’s food might look and unless you are offered some, it is not there for the taking. Get your own if you cannot resist the temptation.
Use a black marking pen to label your food – this is one way that no one can be confused as to what belongs to whom.
Fridges in the office are only there for what is eaten on the day – don’t leave food in the fridge to go bad or open that can leave behind nasty smells.
If you finish the last cup of coffee in the coffee percolator, it is only decent to brew more for the next person to enjoy, and always leave appliances such as the microwave in pristine condition.
Remember that eggs, tuna and other items leave horrible odours – food that smells needs to be disposed of or stored properly so that smells don’t transfer to other food items. Be respectful of strong odours. Avoid bringing food with smells that can linger.
Should you spill something on the floor, wipe it off with paper towels or a damp cloth (not the kitchen dishcloth) to avoid anyone slipping or falling.
Avoid floor hazards. If you spill something, clean it up. You don’t want to be responsible for someone slipping and falling. Don’t forget to test it after you wipe it clean. If there is any sticky or slimy residue, clean it again.
Use a professional facilities management company to disinfect and clean your office space – especially the kitchen area, regularly. With so many strange viruses and bugs we are exposed to, cleanliness is key.
Disinfecting the surfaces of the counters and all appliances, washing hands and respecting the space of others will go a long way to keeping staff at work and ensuring everyone stays healthy for longer.