Did you know that food poisoning costs $1.25 billion and can lead to 6.5 million days of lost employee productivity every year?
It can be difficult to keep the communal office refrigerator neat and tidy. With so many employees stuffing and getting their packed meals from the fridge on a daily basis, it can be one of the most contaminated and disorganised areas of the workplace. The Office fridge can be a battleground where germs, bacteria, and mould triumph. In every workplace, refrigerators are usually a point of controversy; from stolen food, shared condiments, mouldy leftovers, to passive-aggressive sticky notes left on the door. The horrors of the office fridge are real, and alarming enough to make even the most experienced office cleaning crews run screaming.
Spoiled food, a filthy drip tray, and strong-smelling leftovers are just a few of the reasons why your office fridge can stink up the atmosphere. According to a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association and Con Agra Foods, 44% of workplace refrigerators are cleaned monthly, while 22% are cleaned just once or twice a year. Cleanliness is one of the last things on our minds when it comes to cleaning the workplace refrigerator, according to appliance repair business Go-Assist.
Not only is a dirty refrigerator disgusting, it also poses a serious health threat. Here are some ways you can enrol your co-workers to help ensure that your office refrigerator is kept clean, safe, and healthy.
The black carrots, green fuzzy mess, gooey takeaway, and different containers full of dark sludge stashed at the back of the fridge will never be consumed again. To prevent the fridge from becoming a petri dish of bacteria, post a note setting deadlines declaring that any perishable products or leftovers in the refrigerator will be thrown away on a particular day.
Labelling Food Items
Labelling perishable products like milk, curd, or beverages can help everyone around the workplace determine when they were opened and how long they’ve been sitting in the fridge. It’s significantly more accurate and secure, as the original dates are frequently rendered obsolete once the product has been opened.
Owning your Mess
Forgotten food and beverages not only take up valuable space but can also turn your workplace refrigerator into a breeding ground for bacteria and hazards. Be responsible for the food you bring to the workplace each day. If you spill anything in the refrigerator be sure to clean it up right away.
Put Someone in Charge
To ensure that your office fridge and the kitchen area do not get you or your co-workers sick, choose someone to be the monthly Food Safety Officer, ensuring that everyone is aware of the importance of food safety. Whether you select one person or a team, make sure they are completely dedicated to this often-overlooked task.
Readily Available Cleaning Supplies
Give your employees or co-workers the tools they need to clean up after themselves rather than leaving it for someone else. Create a cleaning station or cabinet in the kitchen and stock it with cleaning supplies like an antibacterial spray, gloves, or wipe. Once the cleaning station is set, make sure everyone on your team is aware of it.
Enforcing Kitchen Etiquette
To make a clean, healthy atmosphere a part of your company’s culture it’s important to establish basic kitchen etiquette in the office. Employees must be held accountable for keeping the office kitchen clean and tidy, from cleaning up their messes to tossing out uneaten food to packing leftovers in sealed containers.
Keeping the workplace refrigerator clean and organised can be a tricky task, especially if you share it with others. However, as everybody in the workplace uses it, everyone must take responsibility for keeping it clean and in good working condition. Establishing some basic refrigerator etiquette can go a long way towards creating group harmony and transforming a possible ‘health hazard’ into an advantage.