The 14 Essential Rules of Office Kitchen Etiquette

There are rules to coexisting in a work kitchen, and you should be following them.
05/28/2014 02:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your office kitchen can sometimes feel like a lawless, post-apocalyptic desert littered with empty K-Cups, spilled Sweet'N Low, and stale donuts from the last time someone brought in donuts (January 2008). But there are rules to coexisting in a work kitchen, and you should be following them. Obey the 14 commandments below to avoid future altercations by the water cooler.


1. This is not the space to update your work friends on personal stories

Besides, it's a bad career move if your boss overhears your tale of how you just took a three-hour nap on the toilet.

2. If someone shares their baked goods with the group, you're taking just one cookie, slice, or brownie

Otherwise, people will be rage-whispering about the Two-Blondie Incident of '14 for days.

3. Respect the limited fridge space

You might've scored a sweet deal on a case of Zevia, but you're only keeping one or two cans in there at a time. People have actual lunches -- and actual sodas! -- to chill, too.

4. Do not forget about the perishable foods you stashed in the fridge, either

Remembering you put some leftover guac in there a week ago is six days too late.


5. No stealing people's lunches, snacks, or fancy coconut waters

You are not Janet, and you know it. Go around the corner to the deli like a decent person.

6. On the flip side, milk, spreads, and condiments are fair game

Unless Janet also marked the 1 percent as hers -- in which case, Janet is a tyrant -- you can grab that stuff without a second thought.

7. If you drained the coffee pot, you're filling it back up

Where were you raised, a barn? Or worse, a barn without coffee?

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