Author Topic: Office kitchen etiquette?  (Read 1408 times)

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inniskillin

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Office kitchen etiquette?
« on: January 16, 2014, 10:44:49 AM »
We've shifted our office organization around, and now our group shares a floor with three other groups with whom we had not shared communal space before.  In the prior setup, there were three larger central kitchens that the entire company shared (and at least one of them had a hot-water dispenser).  Now, each floor has its own kitchen with fridge, microwave, etc.  Two kettles for boiling water for tea/coffee have appeared in the kitchen, and I know they must belong to someone in the other groups.  We don't cross paths very often, and even if we did, I'm not sure who I would ask about ownership. 

So, the central question is: Can I use the kettles?  Are they tacitly communal property since they're on the kitchen counter?  Or should I put up a note asking if I/others can use them?  If so, how should such a note be phrased?

Thanks!

Teenyweeny

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 10:50:56 AM »
I'd just use the equipment. Any appliances in the office kitchen I'd assume to be company property, and therefore shared. Depending on the company, I'd feel the same about crockery, cutlery and basic supplies (e.g. tea, milk).

 Anything that's clearly personal property (e.g. a mug that doesn't seem to 'fit' with the rest, lunches, snacks, or 'fancy' tea/coffee) I'd leave alone.



Hmmmmm

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 11:10:41 AM »
In our office, items are for communal use unless they are labeled as being for personal or specific group use.

Just make sure you refill when needed.

If they decide they don't want them used by everyone, a note will show up shortly.

Virg

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 11:15:06 AM »
I generally consider anything in a communal kitchen to be communally available, subject to reusability.  If I can render it the same after I'm done, then I'll use it without asking.  For example, since I can use a dish and then wash it to return it to its before-use state, I will.  I can use a toaster or microwave without ruining it for anyone else.  But I won't take slices out of a loaf of bread because I can't return them when I'm done.  In this case, a boiling kettle can be used and washed/put back on the counter with no damage or loss of use, so it's reasonable to use it unless someone specifically asks you not to do so.

Virg

hajisaurus

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 11:30:49 AM »
Not sure if your company has a group email distribution list, but an email to the group asking permission might save a nasty note later. I'd agree with the others that they are probably free for use, but an email might be worth a shot just in case.

lowspark

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 11:38:53 AM »
I don't know if this is true in your office, but in my office, the admins sort of police and control the kitchen. They put leftover communal food away, wipe down counters, order supplies such as napkins and paper cups, etc. So they generally know what's going on in the kitchen or at least know how to find out. So I would ask them first.

Barring that possibility, I'd probably go ahead and assume anyone can use them. I like Virg's philosophy. If it can be returned to its original state immediately after use, it's ok to use.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 01:49:43 PM »
In our work kitchen, if it isn't communal property, it isn't left sitting on the counter.  We have a number of cupboards where people put their French presses or tea or whatever and it is generally known that they are not communal in nature.  Food left on the table or applicances left on the counter?  Up for grabs.
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Mikayla

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 02:02:20 PM »
I'm with the majority.  If it's unmarked and sitting in the common space, it's up for grabs.  Even if it does belong to an individual, if they didn't want others using it, they wouldn't leave it like that.  I had a French press once, and didn't want others using it.  So I kept it in a cabinet with my name on it. 

inniskillin

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Re: Office kitchen etiquette?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 02:34:23 PM »
Thanks, guys!  Given the near-consensus, I guess I'll start using one and see what happens.  I mean, it's just water, right?  There's not even anything to get dirty!

To respond to a few suggestions (that I agree would definitely make sense in some offices): there's an email list, but it would go to EVERYONE, not just the people on this floor, and that seems excessive for this tiny question.  I agree that admins generally know what's up, but they're all on the ground floor (it's not like in some places, where there are secretaries on every floor).  This new setup is actually rather isolating and not conducive to being social or running into people in the halls.