5 April 2016

The shared kitchen – a staple of many office spaces. Whether at work or at home, a shared kitchen – while a great social space – can cause friction. People using things that don’t belong to them probably tops the list of annoyances and not cleaning up after themselves is usually a close second.

So what is the office etiquette? How do we keep the peace in a shared kitchen?

Labels, labels, labels: Here at the North East Suffolk Business Centre, all tenants label their products and are very swift and thorough when cleaning up after themselves – in the months I’ve been the Centre Coordinator here, we’ve never had a complaint.

Invest in a cleaner: Undoubtedly the main reason for the smooth running of shared kitchen space is mutual respect for those that use it, but I’m sure the fact that a professional cleaner is on site three times a week to give the communal areas a good going over helps.

Avoid the big five moans: On ringing around some of the other Nwes centres and asking the Coordinators their views on the subject, here are the top moans regarding a shared kitchen:

  • Mugs and plates left out
  • Using others’ products without asking
  • Spillages on surfaces or the floor
  • Nobody has the time to empty the dishwasher
  • A messy microwave!

If you can avoid these key issues, it should be plain-sailing for all!

Consider foot traffic: The more people using the facilities, the more problems can arise – however if everyone treats the space with consideration, this can cut down on a lot of friction.

Share and share alike: If you run out of milk and are in desperate need of some caffeine, few people would say no if you take the time to ask them – they would rather you do that than help yourself. Extend the favour to other similarly caffeine-deprived colleagues!


Shared work space etiquette is basically having respect for your fellow colleagues. Do as you would do at home (or even step it up if you’re a little on the messy side…). Remember how annoying it is to enter a kitchen with tea and coffee stains all over the work surfaces and a sink full of washing up.

In short – be clean, considerate and careful, the 3 Cs for a harmonious shared kitchen experience.

Written by Nwes Centre Coordinator, Jackie Waight.

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