We’ve all done it. In an attempt to be healthier, or perhaps to save some money, brought our own lunch to work, or bought ingredients from the supermarket to make something in our lunch break, and forgotten about it, left in the fridge to rot.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I manage to keep my fridge at home free of rotten food, so what is it about the office fridge that makes it so difficult? One likely reason is the phenomenon known as diffusion of responsibility, whereby a person is less likely to take responsibility for action or inaction when others are present.
Whereas you take responsibility for your own fridge at home, in the office, everyone assumes someone else is responsible. If left unchecked, this can lead to otherwise civilised professionals living like students in a house share.
Why keeping the fridge clean is important
Food left in fridges not only takes up valuable space, but can turn into a health hazard. Refrigerators that are overfilled can cause the temperature to go above the safe level of 4c due to a lack of space for cold air to circulate.
If the temperature inside a fridge is not maintained between 0c – 4c, bacteria can grow on your food, making it spoil quicker, leading to bad smells and possibly food poisoning.
Also, If food is not wrapped properly, left to rot, or leaks inside the fridge, it may contaminate otherwise healthy food, and no one wants that!
How to keep the fridge clean
Keep you and your co-workers safe by adopting a clean fridge policy. It may seem a little fastidious, but if your work fridge has got out of control, something needs to be done – adopt a Clean Fridge Plan! It’s super easy to get started:
Appoint a dedicated fridge tsar
To overcome the problem of diffusion of responsibility, appoint a dedicated person to oversee the regular clearing out and cleaning of the office fridge. You may also want to introduce a compulsory labelling system to get people to name and date their food, making a clear out easier.
Clean up any spills immediately with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
Once a week, go through the fridge checking expiry dates and labelling. Communicate to the office that any food out of date will be binned and unlabelled food will be placed on the table until the end of day for collection, otherwise it will also go in the bin.
Request a thorough deep clean of the fridge once a month.
Follow these measures and you should find your fridge is kept spick and span, smell free and safe.
For more tips on keeping your office kitchen clean, call us on 0800 4488026.