With its sole purpose to keep our food and beverages fresh and cool for consumption, the phrase, what goes in the office Refrigerator, stays in the office refrigerator, springs to mind! Despite the refrigerators power to keep its cool, this appliance is also the most frustrating when it comes to employees keeping it clean.
The office fridge can become like a treasure chest containing jewels both delectable (mmm… that block of chocolate) and the unrecognisable (what is growing in the container?). So, here’s a few tips that will help keep the peace when it comes to the shared cold storage box.
Tip 1: The office refrigerator space is like a parking lot
Bob from Buying brought a salad sandwich in a zip lock bag, while Larry from Logistics stocked the fridge with enough food to feed an army. Be like Bob! Unless you are a feeding an army, always ensure you only take what you need so everyone has an opportunity to use the fridge space.
Tip 2: The office refrigerator is not a mini laboratory
If you have worked in a laboratory you could be forgiven for wanting to leave a mess you made to see how it will evolve over the coming days. However, most of us don’t work in a lab, so if you make a mess don’t rely on a colleague to clean it up, do it yourself immediately. No one gets upset over spilt milk… just spilt milk that’s left behind.
Tip 3: Self-cleaning refrigerators have not been invented yet
We have self-cleaning ovens, surely self-cleaning refrigerators can’t be too far away? In the meantime, we all need to do our part in taking on the responsibility of cleaning the office fridge. Why not implement a monthly roster so the duty rotates, ensuring the refrigerator is always clean.
Tip 4: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
An unhygienic refrigerator could be a health risk, chances of contaminating other foods close by. Who knows what toxins off-food are releasing. The number one rule with a shared fridge is to be prepared to say farewell and wave adieu to unclaimed and abandoned foods, bin it ASAP! Except for chocolate… if no one claims the family size treat, surely that is an exception to the rule?!
Tip 5: Food envy should not be acted upon
We’ve all experienced moments of food envy where the waiter walks past with a delicious dish that makes our mouths water, and instantly we feel a pang of regret for ordering the other dish. The same can apply when we open the office fridge to see what Walter from the Warehouse has brought for lunch, while your own lunch consists of Cruskits with cheese and vegemite. While, the temptation to devour Walter’s lunch is very real, food envy should never be acted upon. Although, it may seem somewhat trivial, lunch stealing is frowned upon, especially by the Walter’s of the world who were looking forward to devouring their leftovers.
Tip 6: Sharing is caring
If you’ve brought in a platter of leftovers or amazing baked delights to share around, let it be known. Send an internal email or stick a post it note on the dish, sharing is caring after all. New life forms can be avoided on the shelves if people know that the delight’s purpose of being there is for it to be shared amongst the team.
Tip 7: Grumpy emails be gone
We can all recall those group emails referring to the food item that has taken on a life of its own in the dairy compartment or the annual Christmas email that the refrigerator will be completely cleaned out. Whose container is it? Does anyone own the half-drunk Big M? How long has that blue cheese been in the fridge (was it always blue cheese)?
If we all remember the above simple tips and perhaps even label our lunches, then the owners of offending containers or out of date items can easily be located and the problem is solved. Of course, nobody wants the chocolate to be labelled… that’s just finders keepers, isn’t it? All treasure chests should offer some rewards.