The 7 Rudest Things You Can Do in the Office Kitchen, According to Your Coworkers

Make sure you aren't committing one of these workplace offenses.

Messy Microwave

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I’m sure that most of us can agree that one of the most important places in the office is the kitchen. It's where you store your lunch, make coffee, and grab snacks throughout the day. But using the office kitchen can feel like a chore when you’re always having to deal with a dirty, smelly microwave, a sink full of dirty dishes, or your lunch going missing. So we did some crowdsourcing to find out the rudest office kitchen offenses so you can spare your coworkers. 

1. Not Covering Your Food When You Microwave It

The office microwave is the key to having a hot lunch or reheating your morning coffee you can seem to finish while it's still hot, but you aren't the only one using it! Keep in mind that saucy foods like spaghetti and soup tend to splatter in the microwave as they’re heating up. So, if you’re thinking about savoring last night’s dinner as your work lunch for the next day, be sure to cover it with a microwavable lid or paper towel so that your coworkers won’t have to deal with a messy microwave. And if you do have a rogue splatter, clean it up before it has time to dry up and become even harder to clean later.

2. Microwaving Smelly Foods

Nobody wants to let leftover fish from dinner go to waste, but we all know that microwaved salmon smell will linger in the office long past lunch. It’s best to refrain from heating up any foods with a strong odor in the office microwave and safe that leftover fish for home, or better yet, turn those leftovers into a cold lunch (think tuna salad).

3. Stealing Someone Else's Lunch

The cardinal sin of office kitchen etiquette: taking food from the shared fridge that is clearly not yours. The rule is simple: If it does not belong to you, then don’t take it. Even if it seems harmless you might be taking a lunch from someone who has specific dietary restrictions or allergies and carefully prepared that lunch to fit their needs and won't be able to get another meal. If you forget your lunch one day or are facing food insecurity, consider tagging along with another coworker who is going out to lunch, snacking on some of the office snacks, or politely asking another coworker for some of their lunch.

4. Leaving Dirty Dishes In The Sink

Even if there is someone who cleans up at you at home—don't expect a magical dish fairy at the office. Once your done with your dishes, either put them directly in the shared dishwasher, or give them a quick hand wash and take them with you. While you may not receive a direct thank you, everyone in the office will appreciate a clean, empty sink.

5. Leaving Spills In The Fridge or Freezer

If you accidentally spill something in the fridge or freezer, make sure that you clean it up. Because any liquid that stays in there for a long period of time, can leave a stain, freeze, or a leave a smelly odor that everyone has to deal with every time they open the fridge or freezer.

6. Taking Up Too Much Space In The Fridge

While the office refrigerator is open to everyone for their own storage needs, one thing to keep in mind is the amount of space that you’re taking up. If you are one to shove your whole lunchbox in the fridge when there's really only one or two items inside that actually need to be refrigerated, consider just placing those items in the fridge and keeping the rest of your lunch and lunchbox at your desk.

7. Using Your Coworker's Items Without Asking

Whether it’s someone else’s coffee creamer, condiments, or even a special mug, always ask to use personal items before you borrow them. Remember, if you wouldn’t like someone using your items without asking, don’t do it to one of your coworkers.

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