Worksgiving is a great way to hang out with your colleagues and share some gossip, but like any office gathering, you can seriously piss off your building's custodians if you're not courteous. While some extra mess is inevitable, there are a few steps you can take during cleanup that will make it easier on them.
1. Don't expect them to clean up for you.
Your office custodian is not your mom — their job is to maintain the office, not clean up after you. So whatever you do, don't leave serving pieces in the sink for your custodians to wash up! If you use items that are commonly kept in the office kitchen, like serving pieces or utensils, then wash and dry them and put them away before you leave for the night. If you rearrange furniture to accommodate your Thanksgiving party, put it back in place afterwards.
2. Properly dispose of waste.
Please don't shove all of your food trash into the conference room trash can! Usually, those trash cans are on the small side, meaning there's a potential for spills when they're jammed full of plates. Plus, most conference room trash cans don't have lids, so any odors of half-eaten Thanksgiving grub will be wafting through the office until after-hours, potentially attracting pests in addition to just being a nuisance.
Instead, bring a large trash bag to the event to collect everyone's used paper plates, then bring that to the appropriate place (whether it's just into the kitchen or to your building's service area — ask your custodian or building manager ahead of time!) after you're done dining.
3. Respect the office-kitchen sink.
The sink in your office kitchen is probably not equipped for heavy-duty cooking and cleaning jobs. It might not have a garbage disposal, and your floor might only be allotted so much soap on a weekly basis. Encourage contributors to wash their serving dishes at home (just wrap them up in a plastic shopping bag to get them back) and if people do clean serving dishes in the sink, make sure they scrape out any food chunks first and use the strainer on the sink to avoid clogs. Also, consider bringing in extra dish soap and sponges so you don't use up the whole supply.
4. Wipe down all surfaces and clean up spills.
Your office custodian likely only dusts or vacuums occasionally, so wipe down the conference room table, office-kitchen countertops, and any other surfaces you've used with kitchen cleaner and paper towels when you've finished up. If there have been any spills, sweep and wipe them up, or call your office custodian to see if you can borrow the vacuum. The only exception: If there are really big spills, you may want to call your janitorial office to see how best to proceed, as they may have professional-level equipment to pull it up.
5. Invite everyone!
Do not underestimate the power of straight-up being kind! Invite your custodian to attend the event as well, or at the very least save him or her a couples of pieces of pie as a thank you for the extra work.