Law and Order: Special Kitchen Unit

In an office system, kitchen-based offenses are considered especially heinous.

At ISCG, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members

of an elite squad known as the Special Kitchen Unit.


Offices with an open collaboration space are great; they provide an open line of communication and collaboration across departments, fostering high levels of innovation. With that degree of openness some considerations should be made to ensure respect for all. We have evaluated Open Office Etiquette in the past, but after sitting in front of an open communal kitchen for the last two years I have a unique perspective to share. Since I’ve had the opportunity to hear both internal frustrations and guest frustrations when it comes to kitchen etiquette, it became apparent that a guide would be a great reminder of considerations to take in any communal kitchen, be it open or closed.

For the sake of a scientific, research-backed blog I took an anonymous poll in our office of the worst offenses to make in a communal kitchen. These are some things you may want to avoid in your own communal kitchen, or risk ending up in the proverbial 'workplace jail'. Without further ado, I present to you the worst offenses:

Minor Infractions:

  • Leaving mystery food in the refrigerator
  • Not helping to clean up after group lunches


  • Highly aromatic food choices
  • Leaving a mess after your meal
  • Leaving a mess in the microwave and/or not covering your food
  • Loudly talking, specifically about personal details.
Clean up after yourself and do it even better than if you were in your own kitchen- because you are sharing!
— Anonymous


  • Not refilling items like coffee or paper towels, or taking the garbage out when it’s full
  • Leftover food in the sink
  • Scavenging the refrigerator for food that may or may not be yours
Who leaves food in the sink.....? GROSS!
— Anonymous

When using a communal kitchen, a good rule of thumb is to simply clean up after yourself and fill it up if you use the last of anything. I’ll leave you with a quote from our survey that sums it up perfectly.

 Basic consideration is all that I ask. This is not your kitchen at home, it is a communal kitchen that we all share and it should be treated with respect. If you leave a mess or use the last paper towel & then walk away, it is insulting to the rest of us. And bear this in mind...ultimately, it makes us all speculate about the state of your kitchen (ugh)!
— Anonymous