The Office Kitchen

January 14, 2010

There are many items in an office setting that are there for your convenience: a coffee maker, a microwave, plastic utensils. I’ve found that many people treat these items as they would in their own home—with little respect. After soup explodes in the microwave, the splatters are left to coat the walls and flavor every other dish that later makes its way into the machine. Empty utensil boxes litter the counter, with no one bothering to throw them into the nearby trashcan. And crumbs that could easily be removed with a single swipe of a sponge fill every crevice.

The worse offender, however, tends to be the office fridge—it’s convenient, packed full of month-old goodies, and emitting a landfill-like odor. Items sit in the fridge for eons with no one claiming their now moldy contents. Sauces drip, cans explode, and no one bothers to clean it up—they only want to complain about it.

It’s pretty disgusting and easily avoidable: Clean up after yourself, and be considerate of others. If you left a sandwich in the fridge for more than a week, it’s probably a good idea to throw it away. If you notice a food item that looks more like a science experiment, you can probably throw that away, too.

So, the next time someone opens the office fridge, and you get a nice whiff, instead of whining about how bad it smells, do something about it.

Office Hygiene

January 12, 2010

Whenever I enter a new work environment, I’m always given someone’s old desk. In most instances, I have no idea who the person was or what they were like, but remnants of their former life remain. There are usually stacks of papers and various knick-knacks that piled up over their tenure. Old sticky notes and phone numbers leave hints as to the previous employee’s day-to-day operations. But it’s the things I can’t see that bother me the most.

My first instinct is to sanitize every surface: the phone, the mouse, the buttons on the computer. I have to toss all of the pens and highlighters with caps that look like they were once an appetizer to someone’s lunch. I have to clean the dust bunnies from beneath the computer tower, and spray the crumbs out from the keyboard.

Sometimes I feel like I might be going overboard, but I have no idea what my previous desk-mates hygiene was like. In an office environment, one dirty person can pollute the spaces of even the cleanliest of people. If one person doesn’t wash their hands after using the restroom, the rest of the office suffers.

I often find my hands cracked and dry in the winter, not from the frigid temperature, but from the excessive hand washing. However, I am responsible for my own health and, in a way, the health of my colleagues’ as well. I would rather keep a bottle of hand lotion on my desk to alleviate cracked hands, than forgo soap and water and risk the sniffles or the heaves.

-Missy Schwartz