The 5 step guide to understanding office kitchen politics

Possibly the most utilised communal space in the entire building and the leading point of contention: the office kitchen. While the politics of the kitchen are often complicated and unpredictable, you’ll have to master them in order to access the full potential of it’s amenities.

By following these five simple rules, you can avoid the public blasting that comes with using the kitchen irresponsibly and trust us, for the sake of your future career, you don’t want to carry that reputation with you.

1. Don’t make yourself public enemy number one

As long as there is someone worse than you, for the most part, you’ll be in the clear. Wash your dishes occasionally, clear you desk of unused mugs and throw away bread when it reaches week four of expiration. In the same way that no matter what you do, they’ll be someone better at it – no matter how messy you are, there will be someone messier.

2. Take affirmative action when it comes to cleaning

You’ve noticed significant growth from the potatoes in the top cupboard. Who brings potatoes into work anyway? Are they moonlighting as a green grocer? Before you consult HR, do the right thing and toss those mouldy taters in the bin where they belong.

3. Small talk is encouraged but don’t push it

Step away from your desk once in a while and catch up with the office goings-on by hovering around the kitchen. It’s always nice to see a familiar face on the same caffeine schedule as you but don’t make a habit of it. People will start thinking you don’t actually work in the office, you just hang around the kitchen… or you’re the cleaner.

4. Take it easy on the interns

No-one has it harder (in the context of an office environment) than an intern, especially an unpaid one. Making tea six times a day to fulfil some work experience tick-box on their uni application isn’t their idea of the perfect summer so ease up on them. Engage them in non-work related chat, ask them about themselves, inject some humanity into their day – it’ll be worth it when they’re your boss.

5. Passive-agressive notes are a one way ticket to the bad books

Your coworkers probably don’t think your funny, we’re sorry about that, even if they are pinching your lunch. What you might think is a plateful “don’t touch my stuff” memo actually comes across as a petty reminder that you’re not the perfect employee either. Avoid conflict and just handle fridge thefts on the down-low.

6. Don’t use communal treats as a meal substitute

Those biscuits are more representational objects than they are actual food. They signify a pat on the back from the higher ups and a little good morning motivation. There’s probably not even enough for everyone so control your hunger urges and don’t you dare go up for seconds.

Now what?