We have a small yet very functional kitchen and a beautiful coffee machine, both of which need our love and care every day. Filling the dishwasher and cleaning the machine and the coffee grinder takes considerable time at the end of the day so that we can all arrive at a clean kitchen the next morning.
We decided years ago that these kitchen duties are work that everyone in the office should participate in, on equal terms. The coordination is in itself quite a task: creating and maintaining lists, making sure the work is equally distributed, taking care to redistribute if someone is not in the office that day. Plus, we can all agree that a gentle reminder each day is needed to make sure the duty is done on that day.
Enter kitchenbot. A collection of in-house developed scripts on Google’s Apps Script platform and a slack bot connected to them. Instead of manually generating spreadsheets and tracking the work that needs to be done, the script randomly fills in the list every two weeks, after looking up in our calendar and making sure that the chosen people are in the office for the whole day on that day. The information is passed on to the kitchenbot each day, which then posts in a public slack channel who is responsible for kitchen duties that day. It also knows when it is time to clean the grinder, take out the paper and cardboard for recycling and when a thorough cleaning of the coffee machine is due.
Kitchenbot may be a small detail of our daily office life, but it actually made it possible to have a clean kitchen every day without creating meaningless hierarchies in the office, since every one of us is enjoying that nice cup of espresso in the morning.