How to Motivate Your Office Staff to Clean Their Dishes Without Causing a Riot

Nobody likes doing the dishes, especially when the sink is already piled high with someone else's dirty plates and cups. Coming face to face with a precariously balanced stack of dirty crockery is bad enough at home, but when it is in your office and no one wants to take responsibility, things can get depressing to say the least. 

You want your staff to be happy and to have somewhere to relax at lunch time, but if they can't clean up after themselves it can be tempting to take away the convenience of having their own kitchen. Obviously, you don't want that. So, how do you deal with it? Here are some simple methods of gently motivating your staff to clean up after themselves.

Have Everyone Label the Dishes they Use

Call a meeting and inform your staff that from now on each person must label their cups, dishes and cutlery. According to a survey conducted in Britain, just 2% of office staff stated that their office kitchen had been cleaned in the last week. 

By having your staff label their utensils, dishes and cups, they will will be forced to take responsibility. The same can be done with anything left in the fridge to avoid moldy food stinking the place out. 

Create and Enforce the "Throw Away" Rule

Inform your staff that anything left in the sink come the end of the working day will be thrown out, as dirty dishes breed bacteria and, the dirty dishes would be causing a health risk. 

Paper Cups and Plates

Purchase paper cups, plates and cutlery for your staff to use at break time. Your bins will be fuller, but your sink will be empty. 

One Dish and One Cup Per Person

This can be employed in tandem with the labeling rule. Each staff member has only one cup, plate and set of cutlery. 

Reward Staff for Keeping Kitchen Clean

Staff respond much more favorably to rewards than punishment. At the end of each day, check the kitchen. If it is spotless, award your staff with a star or point to go towards a treat at the end of the week or month. It could be something as simple as a free dinner or a day out, but it will encourage staff to work together to keep the kitchen clean. 

You may be tempted to put up signs, but in most cases, this passive-aggressive approach has little to no impact and could even cause a mini-sign war! Another solution is to hire a commercial office cleaning service to ensure your kitchen stays clean and germ-free, and to allow you to continue to provide your staff with a break-room.