Common areas are an important part of every business and company, whether a front entrance, reception area, kitchen/lunchroom, etc. Frequented and used by many, their basic upkeep can either be assigned to an individual or handled through a collective effort of business etiquette and common courtesy; creating the perfect place to hang a sign, “Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here.”

Certainly we’ve all entered common areas and discovered the spoils of others: printers left without paper, drained coffee pots, empty toilet rolls…. well, you get the picture. They generally happen at the worst possible time, catching us unsuspecting and unprepared, which can result in frustration and even tension at times.

Our Stone Ward Skybox kitchen/meeting space.

At Stone Ward, we have several commonplace areas, with the most used and loved one being the Sky Box ­– a large combination kitchen and dining area. Over time, I’ve encountered some pretty funny antics in this facility. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected when dealing with such spaces, and to look for the humor and silliness of situations discovered rather than the annoyance or frustration of them.

Like the time I was rearranging the refrigerator and pulled out a large jar of mayonnaise. Clueless to who or why it was put away with the lid unscrewed, all I can say is I had no idea mayo could put that kind of shine on a concrete floor! Or the morning I experienced a total upper-body workout while attempting to remove a plastic knife left on the counter overnight ­– covered in hardened maple syrup.

I’ve also discovered more subtle situations, such as eight coffee cups magically appearing in the sink one day, containing weeks of dried-up coffee lining the bottom of each one (let the exercises begin). Or when purging the fridge of numerous personal leftovers–so far beyond recognition of their original contents that I feel like treating them as hazard waste material.

But my most memorable Sky Box encounter occurred in the pantry where I discovered a drink had been spilled earlier that day. Not on the floor, but in the 1500-piece box of Sweet’N Low packets. Certain I now hold some new world record for drying sweetener packets, I’d be happy to share my recovery and drying methods with anyone so interested.

Actually, we have an amazing group of people at Stone Ward; a group I truly enjoy sharing space with.  We have fun, laugh at our imperfections and together, inspirit a great working environment.  Unaware of what future antics may come, I hope to engage them with a humorous eye and keen understanding that no one’s perfect. And for those thinking they are, try walking on water. Unless of course, it’s been spilled in the Sky Box!