Demand that your workplace create common areas that are functional and inviting for all employees.
[Company] must enforce a dishwashing policy for all employees!
Currently, our office kitchen is a mess. It is not uncommon for dishes to sit in the sink for days, creating an environment that is not only unpleasant but also unsanitary. The situation came to a head when one employee left his used french press untouched for so long that maggots appeared in the coffee grinds! Eventually, a disgusted colleague threw the whole thing in the garbage.
This behavior generates a lack of care and responsibility for common spaces. On top of this, the persistent mess in our office kitchen represents a pressing problem of gender and racial equality. Studies show that female-identified employees, and especially women of color, are more likely to be assigned or asked to take on office housework tasks. This has played out in our office, where women and POC end up cleaning up the mess of male employees in order to make the kitchen habitable for everyone. This additional labor takes time away from our busy schedules and has a negative impact on our company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
As event planners, we are keenly aware of the importance of a comfortable and welcoming physical environment. It is time to apply this logic to our own workspace by maintaining common spaces that encourage healthy habits and relationships. To achieve this we propose that ABC require all employees to wash their own dishes immediately after use, leaving the kitchen clean and clear for the following user. Employees must also store their dishes by the end of the day, or immediately if the drying rack is full. Finally, the person who takes the last serving from the office coffee pot should dispose of the grinds and rinse out the coffee pot.
These rules represent a basic step in creating common areas that are functional and inviting for all employees. They are all necessary features of the culture of respect, equality, and accountability that will enable our company to flourish.