Office fridge etiquette

Posted December 11, 2013, by Julia Watters

For many, the office refrigerator is reminiscent of the fridge wars of share houses past – or even present for some. The truth is that people are grubs. Not all, but definitely a sizable chunk of the population. And this grubbiness usually manifests itself in the worst possible form through the medium of the office kitchen… more specifically, the office fridge.

Fortunately, here at the Career FAQs office our fridge is never offensive. Here are our top tips for harmonious office fridge sharing:

Share with care

Avoid using the office fridge to stockpile food like you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Remember how many people you are sharing it with and be mindful that by shoving a week’s worth of groceries in there, someone else might not have room to fit their one tub of yoghurt.

Have a plan

Don’t just buy random ingredients and store them in the office fridge until they inevitably spoil and nasally assault anyone who dares open the fridge door. Use it or throw it away, people! Don’t wait for the email to go out to ‘all staff’ about the state of the workplace whitegoods.

It’s not a buffet

The fridge may live in a public space but that doesn’t mean its contents are intended for public consumption. Unless you know the food you have in your hot little hand is communal, then for goodness’ sake, put it back. Many offices kindly provide milk and condiments for staff members, but you can be fairly certain that container of leftover butter chicken labelled ‘Debra’ was not intended to be your afternoon tea.

Keep it clean

Just like conversations around the water cooler, keep it clean. The fridge is the responsibility of everyone, so don’t just expect some magic fridge fairy (or the office manager) to clean it for you. If you spill something, mop it up. If you see something that resembles a science experiment, throw it out. Unless of course you work in a science lab – then disregard that last point.

What is the worst thing that you’ve seen in an office fridge? Have you ever had your lunch stolen and did you find out who took it?

Julia Watters

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