can I bring a blender to work?

A reader writes:

I have recently started an in-person job after searching for months. I really want to keep it, but I’m so used to working remotely that my in-person skills are rusty. It doesn’t help that I might be autistic and have a difficult time reading the room/taking social cues. Any advice you can me would be very much appreciated.

I live in a large city where cost of living is high. This means I live in a VERY crappy apartment with no kitchen. I have a mini-fridge, a microwave, and that’s it. There isn’t even counter space or cabinets.

My workplace has an employee break room with a sink, cabinets, full-sized fridge (with freezer), decent amount of counter space, and electrical outlets.

I’ve been trying to eat healthier and was hoping to make some veggie/fruit shakes. However, I would need to use the employee kitchen if I wished to do this. It already has a microwave, coffee pot, and tea kettle. Would it be weird to ask if I can bring a blender in? Would it be even weirder to use that blender?

I think you can bring a blender into work if:

a. You pick a quieter model; it’s the noise that risks being an issue more than anything else. It’s worth reading some reviews to find which models are the quietest.

b. You wash it immediately after using and don’t leave it in the sink.

You wouldn’t even need to ask in many offices, especially if yours is pretty informal/casual. You always can ask just so you have peace of mind, though. Either way, after you use it the first time, it would be considerate to check with the people whose offices are closest to the kitchen and make sure the noise didn’t bother them. If someone says something like “It was pretty loud,” assume that’s polite-speak for “it’s too loud.” If instead you get a bunch of “what a good idea for lunch!” comments, assume you’re fine.

Be aware, though, that if you leave a blender in the kitchen when you’re not using it, it will be used by other people and may at some point disappear.

{ 256 comments… read them below }

  1. Goldenrod*

    Now all I can think of is that “Kids In the Hall” skit where Dave Foley plays the “girl drink drunk” who gets caught blending elaborate fruity drinks in the supplies closet… :D

  2. KWu*

    It would be worth considering an immersion blender, those are small and light enough that you can pack it away when not in use.

    Also imo the thing that makes the most noise with smoothies is when you’re trying to blend ice or frozen fruit, so if you either let the fruit defrost or only add ice at the end as cubes (rather than crushed into the smoothie), you could also keep the noise down that way.

    1. Lavender*

      If you use fresh or defrosted fruit and put your ingredients in the fridge for a few hours beforehand, you don’t even need ice. It’ll still be the same temperature as a glass of milk or juice. (I actually prefer to make smoothies with no ice—you can put them in the fridge for later and the texture won’t change from the ingredients “melting.”)

      1. Hg*

        I had a coworker at an old job bring in a blender. Small break room, but with a normal fridge, I never noticed the sound (door closed). As far as I know, nobody thought anything of it except good idea! I think she kept frozen fruit in the freezer. I’m sure it’s office dependant, but it seemed totally fine to me (also smaller office).

    2. Eat My Squirrel*

      Honestly, I think this is the best idea. OP could possibly even manage to keep/use this at home. I typically use mine *in* the sink, in case of accidental splash out. They could do that and then just take the shake to work in a tumbler.

      1. Lily Rowan*

        If they only have a dorm-sized fridge, they probably don’t have enough of a freezer for smoothies?

        1. Eat My Squirrel*

          You wouldn’t need it though. You could use fridge cold fruit and just add ice. Mix the stuff right when you’re leaving for work and put it in an insulated tumbler, which you take with you. Only freezer space they need is one ice cube tray.

    3. I am Emily's failing memory*

      This is what I did for ages. I used one of those big metal mixing cups for making milkshakes and the immersion blender nests right into it for transport.

    4. Dahlia*

      Or a bullet/personal sized blender. I own one that I got on sale for like 20 bucks and it’s really just the base you’d need to store, since the container is also what you drink out of.

      1. LegoGirl*

        I have a blendjet – it would be perfect for LW. And I have a coworker who I know has used hers in the office and I’ve never noticed the noise.

      2. Mara Harris*

        I came to say the Blendjet or Ninja blender would be good options. On the latter, you can drink out of the cup you blend it in. Easy cleanup, and easy to store in your desk because it’s smaller than a full-on blender. Noise was not a problem in our open kitchen!

      3. GammaGirl1908*

        I was coming to suggest something like a Blendjet. I own a Ninja blender and an immersion blender, and the Blendjet commercials make it look so cute that I’m tempted to buy one of those too.

      4. Zelda*

        I haven’t seen one of these in person– when you’re drinking out of the container, does that mean that the blades are left exposed on the other piece of the thing? You’d have to be really vigilant to make sure that they are never ever left where one of your colleagues could get hurt by accident.

        1. Dahlia*

          They screw on and off. Mine came with multiple cups and you could just put them in a bag or something since you’d be washing them anyways.

    5. Artemesia*

      There are also small blenders where you drink from the container — they are designed to be drinking glasses.

  3. metadata minion*

    I definitely agree! And blenders can be loud, but are usually on pretty briefly, so as a hypothetical coworker I’d be much more willing to put up with 5 minutes of blender noises once or twice a day than if someone had a really noisy desk fan or something like that.

    Oo, one other thought — I find that immersion blenders tend to be quieter than standalone, and in my experience they work great for smoothies.

    1. Yvette*

      Immersion blender is the way to go, cleans itself (just immerse in soapy water and spin) and you can lock it away in your desk or even bring it back and forth. They are not very expensive either.

  4. H3llifIknow*

    I say bring it in as long as you’re willing to share since it’s a communal space. Remember the guy who had the fancy espresso machine with the “DO NOT USE THIS IS MY PERSONAL MACHINE” notes on it, etc…? Yeah just don’t be THAT guy and you’ll be fine. I mean… a Ninja is pretty loud but the smaller, bullet type ones are pretty quiet and efficient for a shake.

        1. LifeBeforeCorona*

          I agree with that. A friend brought in a small waffle maker for their office. The idea was on Fridays they could have waffles as a treat. Even with prepared batter and very clear instructions, it was destroyed in a month.

      1. Blendorama*

        I wouldn’t advise OP to be the person who brings in a blender and then keeps it at her desk, either! Unless it’s an immersion blender or a very small one

        1. H3llifIknow*

          Same. Using a blender and making some level of noise in the kitchen is one thing, but at her cube? To me that’s … weird. Also, where are people working that so much stuff is stolen and abused? In my 25 years I’ve not had that experience and I’ve brought in Keurigs, a toaster oven, etc… It saddens me how cynical everyone is. Yes there are the a-holes we read about here but they HAVE to be the exception, not the rule or work would be total anarchy everywhere, all the time!

          1. Jojo*

            I work for a large fortune 100 company. People (Well paid professionals) steal creamer and ice cream from the freezers, steal 50 cent pretzels and then complain when the person stopped bringing them in, and have done unspeakable things to toaster ovens and microwaves.

            During the pandemic, someone stole the tape from my tape dispenser along with the little plastic piece that holds the tape in place, rendering my tape dispenser useless.

            A ninja blender or bullet blender wouldn’t last a week in my office.

    1. Ms. Haru*

      Yes, plus one for this. I’d be much more willing to forgive a noisy blender knowing that I can use it from time to time.

    2. ferrina*

      This. I can’t tell if OP is planning on leaving it in the kitchen or at their desk. If left in the kitchen, it should be open for free use.

    3. a good mouse*

      The great thing about the smaller bullet type ones is you put everything into your smoothie cup, put on the blending cap, blend it, then replace the blending cap with the drinking cap. The only thing that needs to be cleaned is the blending cap and the smoothie cup, and its small enough you could easily store it in your desk and just bring the base to the kitchen when you want to blend.

    4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I wouldn’t leave it in the kitchen actually. After the recent post all about sandwich thievery, who could count on finding their blender the next day? I have a wand, and it would fit fine in an office drawer.

      1. H3llifIknow*

        It’s a lot easier to take a sandwich than to walk off with someone’s BLENDER. Like, the sandwich could be that person’s actual lunch; nobody knows, but walking thru the office with a blender that isn’t going to fit in a pocket. Also, if you work where people STEAL APPLIANCES, get a different job!

  5. Lily Rowan*

    Totally agree with Alison, but would also note to be wary of using too much freezer/fridge space, as per the previous post!

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Yes, I feel like although Alison answered the question that was asked, but there was a larger question to answer…do not use the office kitchen as a replacement for a home kitchen, blender usage aside. Don’t fill communal spaces with personal items even if there is appears to be room, and figure out the home kitchen problem separately.

      We had that person in our office for a while — he had a tiny kitchenette at home and decided that he would fill the office fridge with his food and do all of his meals here at work. Full meal prep instead of warming up was really out of step and created a bigger mess and nuisance than he would own up to.

      1. gsa*

        I was thinking more along the lines of, “What if everybody wanted to bring one kitchen appliance/item”?

        My advice:

        1) figure out what everyone else does first…

        2) make smoothie/lunch/snack at home and bring in cooler.

  6. David*

    I think it’s also relevant to think about how often and when you plan to use it. If you want to make your breakfast in the morning before most people are in the office or if you only expect to use it once a week or so, a lot of people probably won’t even notice. If you want to make an afternoon snack every day at 2pm though, people are likely to get more irritated.

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      This was what I was going to suggest. If you can come in 15 minutes before the official work day starts for most of your coworkers and make your smoothie then (and eat it for breakfast or save it in the fridge for lunch), that would go over a lot better than making it during your break or during lunch when sharing the space with others who are trying to relax.

    2. ferrina*

      Good point. Using it pre-work in the morning- I’d be fine. Using it every day at lunch or afternoon- very annoying. That’s prime meeting time at my work, and would disrupt lots of conversations

      1. H3llifIknow*

        I guess it depends on where your CRs are. Our large communcal kitchens (2 per floor) are located well away from the CRs. Maybe because we work on a military base, people are just more…. honest or considerate? But the horror stories I’ve read here about thievery and people being disgusting just astound me.

  7. LFO*

    Wouldn’t be allowed in the U.K. without it being tested. All electrical items in workplaces need to be tested to ensure they are safe. Any similar rules where you are?

      1. old curmudgeon*

        Unless the office had had a fire that was the result of an electrical appliance that was left plugged in. Then you might not even be allowed to bring a blender (or fan, or personal coffee maker, or any other item that plugs into an electrical outlet) in at all.

        Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I am speaking from experience. Though I’m guessing most places wouldn’t overreact the way my employer did.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          In one of my previous offices, there was a rule about no personal electrical devices, other than chargers for phones or laptops.
          If they caught you, you’d be asked to take it home. But if the OP in this case left it in the kitchen, it would probably be fine unless they run into an over-zealous fire marshal.

      2. Some words*

        I think the correct blanket response is “it depends”. The offices I’ve worked in don’t allow any electrical kitchen appliances, large or small, except those provided by the employer. We can have fans at our desks, but nothing with a heating element (like space heaters or cup warming plates). I assume some of these rules are built into the lease.

        Also, is the break room/area enclosed? That’d make a big difference in the noise factor. In the LW’s situation I’d probably talk to my supervisor to get a feel for how they handle such things. If it’s a thumbs up I’d bring it back to my desk after every use.

    1. chocolate lover*

      I’m curious, tested by who? That definitely does not happen at my job! At least, we’ve never been told anything like that. In my previous physical office, more than half the people in the suite had their own various mini fridges in their individual offices, and those definitely weren’t tested. Though for all I know, that was an “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” situation.

      1. Amerdale*

        Tested by an Electrician, whose is specifically trained to do these tests. So mostly someone from an external company has to come and test everything and then wants to be paid.
        At least that’s how it works in Germany, I assume UK rules are similar.
        Oh, and in Germany you would have to make sure

        1. amoeba*

          Depends on the workplace though. Pretty sure not all small offices have it (we definitely didn’t have it when I worked at university!)

      2. Vio*

        My workplace hire qualified PAT Testers every year to test every electrical appliance in the building. A sticker is put on every one tested saying when it was tested and with the signature of the tester. Since it costs the same if they’re here for two hours or six hours we’re encouraged to bring in any electrical items we would ever use at work to have them tested as well, phone chargers being the most common.
        The law only requires that an employer guarantee that all appliances are safe and doesn’t strictly define how that’s achieved, but PAT Testing (a tautology since it stands for Portable Appliance Testing but it’s always referred to as that, presumably since it would be confusing to say “PAT-ing”) is the most common method used as it gives clear proof of regular testing and maintaining equipment.

    2. Boolie*

      Here in the USA I haven’t ever heard of nor experienced the need for electrical testing.

      1. Miss Muffet*

        I think this is what that little U in the circle on most appliances is – the government testing. Obvs it’s not every single object but like, a general sign off that it’s made correctly and shouldn’t catch fire.

        1. nona*

          I think that symbol means its tested to a standard (internationally recognized or not), but it’s not government testing.

        2. Emma*

          That sounds like a compliance mark, which as you say, is about design, materials etc.

          The type of electrical testing that LFO meant is done on an item-by-item basis, by an electrician, every few years to check for wear or damage which could be dangerous.

          The trick, if you want to bring in your own electrical items, is to find out when the electrician is coming and leave your items out in the open. They will just go through the office testing everything they see, not least because it means they can charge for more items, and then your blender, phone charger, animatronic fishtank etc will be Officially Approved for Office Use.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        In many buildings it’s common for workers to be told they cannot bring in space heaters for this very reason. I thought that was an isolated NYC/very-old-building thing until I moved to the suburbs and got the same line in a relatively new building (a converted factory, even!). I think it ends up being a scale problem – one or two people with a space heater might be fine, but if 25+ people are all running their space heaters the grid just overloads.

        A blender, though, shouldn’t be a problem.

        1. Adultiest Adult*

          Yes, can testify that my office found out that six running space heaters in the same bank of offices was officially too many and knocked out the power to an entire section, and that the person who unfortunately has the circuit breaker panel on the wall in their office was not happy at being interrupted multiple times to reset the circuits! Also, space heaters without modern safety features, like tip-over protection and auto-shutoff if it overheats or anything (like a curtain) blocks it, can and have caused many fires, so the fire department and most building owners are necessarily leery about allowing their use in offices.

      3. Tony T*

        True … never ever heard of that “testing” after scores and more scores of decades in US of A engineering offices/test labs. They’d go: “WTF, O?”

    3. Chirpy*

      Based on the age of some of the various appliances and personal fans at my work, they don’t inspect anything here. Then again, there’s literal holes in the wall and the building’s electrical is…a huge mess anyway….

    4. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      I’m so curious about this, cause I’ve never heard anything like it! Who’s in charge of testing? Is it tested by someone within the company, or by an outside agency, or a government group? Or does the manufacturer have to certify that it’s safe? What is the testing for particularly? What safety standards? Is this all workplaces and all electrical items?

      1. IntheUK*

        I’ve worked in big organisations and so from my perspective it just magically happens that once a year an email comes round saying that PAT testing* is happening next week and please make sure all appliances are laid out. Then the electrician comes round and every plug gets a sticker with the date of the test.

        *yes the T stands for test so that’s a redundancy but if you google that phrase you’ll find out more. Portable appliances, now I know!

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, there are companies who specialise in doing PAT for other businesses. They’re external contractors who come round once a year to test all the small appliances in the building (coffee machines, kettles, even people’s personal phone chargers if they’re plugged in and used at the office) and stick a green sticker on them to confirm that they’ve passed the safety test and confirm the date they next need to be tested on. I’ve never worked for a company that allows personal items like fan heaters etc – those would have to be company purchased and PAT tested. Same with a blender, before we even get on to the possibility of the noise being disruptive.

      2. Allie*

        I am going to get way out of my depth very quickly here, as I have a woeful understanding of this stuff, but the UK and I think continental Europe has a higher voltage socket output than the US, which may (see me losing foothold) mean our appliances are more dangerous/a fire hazard if the wiring is in disrepair. Maybe? Or, it could just be European countries have a greater degree of regulation in general than the US. PAT tests only for electrical integrity and safety. Tests aren’t needed on brand-new items for some number of years, as they are assumed to have been made safely/have been tested at manufacturing stage. (Even though that’s definitely not a safe assumption if an item has been bought from a random eBay seller.) There’s a Wikipedia article – search for ‘portable appliance testing’ – with a bunch of links if you want to head down a rabbit hole!

    5. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’m in the US. In 30 years of working, never allowed to bring in outside devices.
      Keurig, blender, toaster (my wish) or toaster oven. Same for space heaters; not issue with little fans, though.
      Check with your office manager if not your supervisor first. They should know the rules for the building.

      1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        This is my experience too — an official company policy of no personal appliances or equipment. However, most places I’ve worked also just look the other way when people bring in their personal appliances, until there is a problem (circuit breaker trips repeatedly, small fire, theft, argument over use, sky high utility bill, etc.), and then they whip out the policy and enforce it for a while.

        1. Not saying my name, even my usual alias*

          My workplace told us no personal appliances when we moved into a temporary space while our building was being rebuilt. In the old building, several people had microwaves in their cubicles that they let the whole department use, because there were only a couple of “official” microwaves in a break room that served the whole building and a lot of us preferred to eat/take breaks at our desk anyway instead of going to a breakroom on a different floor that often got crowded and loud at peak mealtimes. In the temporary building there would be just the microwaves and a coffee maker in the break room, nothing in our workroom, communal or otherwise.

          They never said whether that was a permanent policy change or just a way of dealing with the fact that we were going to have a lot more people working in the temporary space than was generally the rule for a couple of years, since most of us were going to be moving back out once the new building was built, and we never asked. None of us brought microwaves in to the new place since the new breakroom is pretty convenient to us but there are a lot of electric kettles underneath desks that we just aren’t talking about.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        In a previous job we had holiday potlucks. I think it was Thanksgiving when several people brought in their crockpots and blew fuses in half the office because they all plugged them in at the same time in the kitchen. It was easily fixed and the food was delicious, but yeah, not the best idea.

        1. Hillary*

          One of my previous workplaces had designated crockpot outlets complete with a map. Eventually they added three circuits to the main kitchen (two for microwaves and an extra wall outlet circuit).

        2. Sue*

          My weekend team used to have potlucks on our Saturdays since the cafeteria wasn’t open in any useful way that day. One time someone brought their George Foreman grill and we had a whole 4th of July style picnic with hot dogs, rolls, potato salad, etc. It was glorious until the fuse blew and we had to have maintenance come up. The following exchange ensued:
          Us: we don’t know what happened; the break room lights just went out. Also would you like a hot dog?
          Maintenance guys: Yes, those smell great. Sometimes these fuses just go for no reason.

      3. RLC*

        I agree, ask first. In nearly 35 years of US government employ I’ve seen “appliance rules” ranging from nonexistent to deeply restrictive. Most restrictive had nothing to do with safety, instead it was felt that any food or beverage related appliance “competed” with the cafeteria in the building and had to be approved by building manager. At the other end of the scale there were office kitchens with all the full size appliances typical of a suburban home, for an office of a dozen staff. One office had a working vintage pop bottle vending machine, with yes, vintage prices. It was wonderful.

    6. CL*

      As someone who has tripped circuit breakers in multiple offices, I can attest that nothing is tested in the US. :)

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        Two jobs ago, I was highly offended when the microwave I just pushed start on caused a circuit breaker to trip. My coworker asked, “Did you put something metal in it?”

        Readers, I was 35 at the time. We’ve had a microwave in my house since I was 3.

        Our office was rewired by the boss’ son.

        1. Random Bystander*

          Shuddering. I remember one house I lived in, you could not make toast at the same time as you made coffee in the kitchen or you would trip the circuit breaker. I mean, seriously, is coffee and toast not a common combination of things to consume at breakfast?

          1. Clisby*

            My sister and her husband for awhile lived in a house where you couldn’t run the microwave and toaster oven at the same time. It was like the farm kitchen in the old TV show Green Acres.

          2. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

            At our old office, you could not use the microwave and the sandwich press at the same time, or it would trip the safety switch on the powerboard. The power board that was behind the large, heavy cabinet that all the appliances lived on. Resetting it was not a small endeavour.

          3. Cheshire Cat*

            Did you live in my old house? The refrigerator was on the same circuit as the wall outlet so if it turned on I would have to go outside, halfway around the house, to flip the breaker. Not fun, especially if I was still in my pjs!

        2. The OG Sleepless*

          I used to belong to a gym where if three people turned on hair dryers at the same time in the women’s locker room, it would trip the breaker. And the breaker box was behind the front desk, down a long hallway from the locker room, so somebody would have to walk all the way to the desk. From *three* hair dryers going, in a communal locker room.

          1. La Triviata*

            In my old apartment (built in 1929 with the original wiring and plumbing) I once blew the single fuse with three 60 watt lightbulbs and the TV.

    7. mlem*

      Many workplaces will ban anything with a heating element (hotplates, space heaters) due to fire risk. Holiday light strings sometimes are banned for similar reasons. It’s all up to the individual company (or property management), though.

    8. A person*

      In the US as long as it’s UL rated (should be stamped on there somewhere… and it’s pretty hard to get appliances inUS that aren’t) it shouldn’t need testing.

    9. Lady_Lessa*

      I know that somethings are UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories) tested and listed. Since it has been a while since I worked in a industry where our materials went into such items, my memory may be faulty.

      I know that the potting materials that we made that are designed to meet specific flammability standards, required testing and UL would come in and have us make test samples while they watched. The samples then went back to their labs for testing.

      You might want to look at the sticker on the appliance that gives the model number etc, and look for the UL logo.

    10. Book Lady*

      I work for a local government organization and we have a policy that all appliances need to be approved by our facilities/safety department before being used and they all have to the UL-listed. Especially in a new job I would check in to see if there is a similar policy at your organization.

    11. KayDeeAye*

      I think LFO has a point, because I am fairly sure my workplace (I’m in the U.S.) has rules about appliances in the office kitchen. But at least where I work, those rules wouldn’t be enforced – unless someone leaves it lying around the kitchen, annoys other workers with it, blows a fuse using it or something like that, nobody would enforce that rule. We have rules about no space heaters, too, but everybody looks the other way – until something goes wrong, that is.

    12. No fires, please*

      In a different part of Europe here, and the rule is no space heaters, no personal electric items, even lamps, at all. We also have code for automatic off-switches for stove tops at home, and it’s illegal to install your own ceiling lamps – unless you literally just plug them into a socket.

    13. TechWorker*

      My company does this testing once a year, but as far as I know we don’t avoid using new things until the testing (that would be horrendously inefficient) so I’m not sure it’s definitely that they can’t be used at all…? A company might still reasonable have a policy of not allowing electronics from home though (if they can’t enforce they are ‘new’ or ‘high quality’ for example).

    14. fhqwhgads*

      In my US experience, it’s fairly common, but not at all ubiquitous, to have a similar such policy. Whether said policy is enforced varies widely.

    15. Michelle*

      I have a personal, rechargeable Blendjet blender. I can fill it at home, put it in the office fridge, blend at my desk, drink my smoothie, wash it in the employee kitchen, then store either in my desk or put it in my backpack to take home. It’s fast and much quieter than a regular blender. I’d recommend it.

    16. H3llifIknow*

      ….tested how? They plug it in and turn it on? How does one run a “safety test” on a blender? I could see with a high wattage item, or something like a toaster over that might get left on and start a fire, but… a blender?

    17. Chalk Dust In The Wind*

      Most devices of this type sold in the US is tested by Underwriter Laboratories and has a plate indicating as much on the device.

      That said, the only place I’ve worked at that actually enforced this was a Fortune 50 (with an in-house Starbucks franchise whose profits they were trying to protect, not happy when a startup they acquired tried to bring in a high-end espresso machine).

  8. Emmie*

    Others have tips on making a smoothie for lunch. It’s not clear to me if you’re asking to make bulk smoothies for your eating plan or an occasional smoothie for lunch. I would not use the work kitchen as a substitute for your home kitchen. A smoothie for lunch is fine – given the caveats here – but not to prepare, cook, or blend most of your meals.

  9. chocolate lover*

    OP didn’t mention this specifically, but they mentioned there was no cabinet space in their home. Does that man they would do all the prep, such as chopping, at the office, too? That could potentially take up a lot of space and you’d need to be sure to clean the counters thoroughly.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I wondered about this, too. Blender for occasional drinks/meals would be fine where I work. Blender here as a substitute for meal prep at home would be taking over too much of the shared space. Presumably the LW has a table of some sort at home on which they could prep, though, even if they don’t have literal kitchen counters.

      1. Ranon*

        Our work kitchen has acres of countertop, one person using a cutting board makes no impact at all. Very environment dependent!

        1. hello, goodbye*

          & my job has one tiny countertop and no dedicated breakroom.

          LW should feel out the office, how large is the breakroom, where is it, etc

    2. zuzu*

      I would imagine frozen chopped fruit might be involved. That’s what I do for mine. I make up little baggies of frozen fruit and baby spinach and maybe a cube or two of that frozen chopped ginger and then toss all that in the blender with some milk and protein powder, maybe peanut butter.

      I do have a Vitamix that scares the cats, though.

      1. Alanna*

        This was my assumption too — bring a reusable baggie of stuff from home, toss it in the fridge/freezer, get it out at mealtime and blend. If there’s more prep than that involved, it might raise some eyebrows (depends on the office, but I’ve worked in some casual offices and I’m an enthusiastic cook and the most I ever do at work is slice a tomato for a sandwich).

    3. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      Just because there is no cabinet space doesn’t mean the OP is going to do all the prep and stuff at home. You can get ready to blend smoothie cups. They probably have some surface they can use to chop things, like a small table or something.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Yeah, if you’re going to do this, I would get a Magic Bullet or a Nutri Bullet or whatever they’re called, fill the cup with ingredients at home, blend at the office. Even if there’s no chopping, the ingredients could potentially take up a lot of space that is meant to be shared. (I’m thinking of my own smoothies, which are usually yogurt, frozen fruit, almond butter, and non-dairy milk. Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s at least half a shelf in a shared fridge.)

      Now that I read that back to myself, I would just make smoothies at home and bring them in. A small blender can live on top of a mini-fridge.

  10. Tired of Working*

    I’m wondering why you can’t use the blender at home and bring a thermos to work. You said that you have a microwave in your kitchen. Is it plugged into an outlet? If you can’t use an outlet in your kitchen, could you use an outlet in another room?

    1. Justme, The OG*

      They also said they had no cabinets or counters. I’m not sure where they’re supposed to store it at home when not in use.

      1. lunchtime caller*

        Just literally anywhere? On the floor in a corner, in a box next to their bed? Honestly if their same position I would not bring a blender in because then you have to bring in all the fruit and what not (and expect people not to steal it…), do all this chopping and cleaning and so on. Much better to just buy a good thermos, shove the blender into a box at home when not in use, and avoid this all together.

        1. lilyp*

          It kind of sounds like they don’t have a kitchen-style sink either (I suppose it’s possible to wash a blender in a bathroom sink but it’d be pretty annoying). Plus then they also have to store and clean a cutting board, knife, cups, etc.

        2. Aldabra*

          My guess is they already have stuff in a box in the floor next to the bed that they can’t store anywhere else, and no shame or blame to them. My recommendation would be one of those blenders that makes single servings, or an immersion blender.

      2. Dowager Crone*

        That’s what shelving is for. I lived in a 100 sq ft dorm room with a mini-fridge and an electric two burner unit that lived on top of the fridge. No microwave. My counter space was my desk, and my kitchen storage was my book shelf.

      3. Ally McBeal*

        I once lived in an apartment that had no counter space – I had a 2/3-sized fridge, a stove/oven, and a sink, that’s it (I did have overhead cabinets, one regular sized and two half-size that went over the fridge and oven). I went to IKEA and bought a big wooden cart that worked wonderfully as a prep space, but I had the space for a cart – I suspect OP might not. I’ve visited friends in apartments even smaller than that 330-sq-ft shoebox and I think it’s awful that such tiny places exist, even in cities like NYC where people eat out all the time and genuinely do use the oven as extra storage space.

    2. Goody*

      I’m imagining that OP lives in one of those hundred-square-foot NYC efficiencies where the tenants share a bathroom.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Or the one I quickly rejected that advertised bathroom & kitchenette… by which they meant a bar-height fridge and a toaster oven right next to the bathroom door becauseTHAT was the sink. Nope nope nope.

  11. MusicWithRocksIn*

    I used to make a blender full of shakes on the weekend, pour them into five cups and freeze them, then grab one per day – it would be nicely defrosted about an hour into my day. Of course I had freezer space for that – but if there is extra room in the freezer at work you could try to make shakes only one day a week and freeze them all so you don’t come across as the person who is always using a blender.

    1. chocolate lover*

      Though they could come across as the person hogging more than their fair share of the freezer, no?

      1. Chirpy*

        At my work, almost nobody uses the freezer, so it may just depend on your work. I’ve never seen more than one other frozen meal on the rare occasions I’ve brought one in.

  12. High Score!*

    There are tiny single serve portable blenders available. They’re not great at crushing ice but if you use crushed ice and fresh fruit rather than frozen, it would work. Also you would not need to share and you could use it at home too.

    1. Sunshine*

      I commented this further down! Bonus: you can go out to your car to do the actual blending if it turns out to be too loud.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        OP might not even have a car, considering they live in a tiny city apartment. Maybe they live in LA but NYC or Chicago are also likely candidates.

      2. DataSci*

        I see recommendations to change clothes in your car a lot here (assuming people not only have a car but one large enough to change in) but this is a new one. How are they supposed to plug it in? Neither of our cars (actual cars, not SUVs) have an outlet.

        1. Marni*

          There are singleserve portable blenders that are rechargeable. They’re so cute that I am tempted to get one even though I have both a full-size blender and a little plug-in smoothie blender. (The Bella rocket blender, which I highly recommend if anyone is in the market for a personal size blender. It’s petite and not too loud, and does a great job on ice cubes and frozen fruit.)

    2. oranges*

      THIS. I’ve used a Magic Bullet for year, and they make even smaller ones now. Ones you could easily store in a desk drawer or unused space. Do plenty of research on their ice crushing ability, and be mindful of how much space you’re taking up in the communal fridge/freezer.

      1. Frickityfrack*

        We have a Magic Bullet in my office (4 of us) and it’s not bad at all. I wouldn’t try crushing up anything that’s frozen solid, but my coworkers usually put their frozen fruit in the fridge in the morning and it’s melted enough to work well by lunch. The noise is nbd since it’s only on for about 2 minutes at a time.

        Then again, my office also has an air fryer, a duo Keurig, an electric kettle, and a Dash pancake maker that my coworker uses to fry eggs, in addition to the standard microwave/fridge/toaster, so I recognize that we may have uh…very different standards for normal office kitchens.

    3. Funfetti*

      Thirding! A girl in my office does this – it’s really neat. She has it all preloaded and then blends!

      1. The Katie*

        A colleague of mine has one of those Blend Jet blenders that you can actually drink out of. I think she pre loads hers too.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I have always found this to be true. I think ice is used commercially to stretch the smoothie out by increasing voume (i.e., increase profits).

      2. DataSci*

        Yeah. I read an article about how to make better smoothies a few months ago that advised not to use ice, and to use frozen fruit.

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      The freaking Magic Bullet – my spouse has every kitchen gadget know to man (and to As Seen on TV!), and I avoided one of those for years until our youngest went through a smoothie phase for breakfast, and we ended up with an off-brand one. I hate that thing. It’s louder than our other blenders (yes, plural) and does a much crappier job.

      1. Alanna*

        I have the Ninja version. While it’s totally discreet enough size-wise for office use, it is unreal how loud that thing is. My watch has occasionally given me “the decibel level is threatening your hearing” alerts when I’m using it.

    5. Anon (and on and on)*

      I was going to recommend this as well! Somehow a Magic Bullet, Nutribullet type device reads as more portable than a blender and wouldn’t feel as strange and out of place at an office. Plus, you can drink the smoothie out of the same cup you blend it in and the whole thing takes up way less room. A full size blender would feel strange because it reads as a home appliance, but this feels much more appropriate.

  13. HannahS*

    When I had a small kitchen, I used an immersion blender (a.k.a. stick blender) because it was smaller and cheaper. They aren’t as good as an upright blender, but I found mine adequate for basic smoothies (frozen fruit, water, nut butter.) Also good for blended soups if textures wig you out.

  14. Sunshine*

    Portable blender! They make ones you can just take with you on the go. BlendJet in particular has tons of colors. They’re on the smaller side, but if you can stash extra fruit and such in the freezer at work you can make multiple per day and not worry about a bigger blender.

    1. bassclefchick*

      I love my BlendJet! Easy to use, easy to clean, doesn’t take up much space, and it is pretty quiet. It even blends small ice cubes fairly well.

      1. RunShaker*

        I got my Blendjet last week & will be trying it out for work later this week. It’s great that it doesn’t plug into an outlet and it charges. I’m freezing my bananas/strawberries so that I don’t have to add ice. A friend of mine uses one at work with no problem & loves it as well. I also saw on Amazon there are other blenders like Blendjet if OP wants to research.

      2. Peanut Hamper*

        I was looking at one of these and was wondering if it really did live up to the advertising. I’m so glad to hear that you love yours. I might order one this week.

        And the fact that you charge them up via USB is a huge bonus!

  15. RJ*

    Back in 2020, I had a personal blender that I used for my morning and afternoon smoothies. Many are now USB chargeable (so you can charge them with your phone, if needed) and are very quiet compared to the larger, louder ones. Do a general search on Amazon and you’ll start to see how many options are out there now.

  16. DannyG*

    You might also want to check with site management to make sure you don’t have to get the appliance inspected. I the hospitals I’ve worked in over the last 40 years ALL devices required approval for electrical safety & load requirements.

    1. Media Circus*

      Seconding the question of how it will impact the electrical load. A previous office of mine learned the hard way that we couldn’t run the microwave at the same time as the toaster oven that the boss brought in. Once we knew that it would kick the circuit, we put up a polite sign asking folks to simply wait for one appliance to finish its task before firing up the other one. But the office manager was definitely crabby until we sorted it out.

    2. Clisby*

      Even if they don’t plug into an electrical outlet? Some commenters are talking about small blenders that run on a rechargeable battery.

  17. Sandi*

    My workplace clearly had a good designer because the break room is separated from desks by washrooms and meeting rooms. In my situation I wouldn’t ask about it because I would use it when the meeting rooms aren’t in use and no one was having a conversation in the break room. It helps that my workplace is informal (tech). If it was a quieter model and I was using it for less than a minute then I might even do it with other people nearby although never in conflict with a meeting.

    Absolutely wash it after and maybe even keep it hidden at your desk so that you don’t end up with others not washing it or taking it. This is also a politeness for anyone else who wants to use the counter. I have worked in places that had a lineup of small appliances in the break room and it felt cluttered and less usable.

    1. marvin*

      I came here to recommend the magic bullet or a similar style of blender as well. It’s probably too loud for the office but it’s so small and easy to clean that it would work well for a tiny kitchen (I used to have a similar kitchen setup so I feel the pain). You blend the smoothies right in the cups which come with lids, so they would be easy to take to work.

  18. Over It*

    Nothing helpful to add to here but the person who used to sit next to me kept an air fryer at her desk. I feel like that wasn’t allowed, but there were no disruptions or fires and now she’s at a new job. But I still have so many questions as to why lol

    1. Sandi*

      Seriously?! Wow! My workplace is flexible but using an air fryer at one’s desk seems like it would be too much of a safety concern. I’ve never used one so maybe it is much less risky than I imagine but something with fryer in the name does not sound like a good idea for a cubicle farm.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “Hey, I’m running to the vending machine. Do you want some chips?”
      Nah, I have some fries that are just about ready.
      “There’s left over pizza in the kitchen? Want to get a slice?”
      Oh, no thanks, my wings are almost done.

      SO MANY questions!

      1. marvin*

        I want to believe they’re hosting some kind of workplace themed cooking show from their desk.

    3. Not A Girl Boss*

      We had a communal toaster oven but an air fryer at a desk is a LOT. Wasn’t it like… super loud?

      I wish she was still around so you could have logged what she cooked in it and reported back to us?

      1. Goody*

        Mine is not, except for the beep at the end of the cook cycle. But I still wouldn’t install it at my desk.

    4. Sleepyhead*

      It’s amazing what people bring to work now. There is a whole TikTok account where a woman had a bunch of small appliances and regularly makes her own food at her desk. She has a ton of cooking ingredients at her desk and will cook eggs on those small appliances made for making tiny waffles and stuff.

    5. Peanut Hamper*

      There are some really small air fryers out there, but I just can’t imagine keeping one at your desk. I think we all have a lot of questions now.

    6. TX_trucker*

      I have an employee that has a mini waffle maker at her desk. And yes, she offers to make you a waffle if you stop by during breaks.

    7. Lead Balloon*

      I regularly watch a YouTube channel called Emmymade and a few years ago there was a video about electric lunch boxes and an electric cooking pot that you plugged in. The idea was that you could cook your lunch at your desk but I don’t think it would be allowed in a lot of offices. It was still kinda fun to watch.

    8. Over It*

      To answer some questions:
      1. I’m sure it wasn’t allowed, but I don’t think our health and safety people knew about it
      2. I only remember her using it once or twice in the six months we sat next to each other
      3. It still baffles me. I truly have no explanation!

  19. I Wish I Had a Fancy User Name*

    You might consider a portable hand held blender. I have a BlendJet. It’s battery-powered (USB-rechargable) and pretty quiet. I load mine up in the morning and put it in the fridge until I’m ready to make my shake. I wash it and keep it in my bag afterward; eliminates awkwardness about the potential for others to be using it.

    1. Just Another Zebra*

      I love my BlendJet! I’d been debating getting one, but then they released the Lisa Frank rainbow leopard print, and my little 90s heart was all aflutter.

      But also, it makes fantastic smoothies in next to no time.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Oh man I have no need for this but that Lisa Frank one is so cool I kinda want it anyway! I had a friend in elementary school who had Lisa Frank everything and I was always so jealous, I could make 8 year old me’s dreams come true!

      2. Marmalade*

        I have that one! It went out of stock the first time when I was debating buying and then it came back and I bought it bc I regretted not getting it the first time I saw it. Very much worth it.

  20. Dust Bunny*

    A coworker of mine has a small blender in the kitchenette. He doesn’t use it all the time, though, and it’s not very loud for a blender so it’s fine. I’m not sure we’d feel the same if he were eating smoothies daily/multiple times a day.

  21. Les*

    As a fellow autistic person, I’d be wary. Not telling you what to do but I would find it very hard to pick up signals about when it’s ok to use it, if people are getting annoyed, etc.

    It’s also kind of an eccentric thing to do and I already come off too eccentric. People might say that we shouldn’t care what people think of us but it does affect promotions, opportunities, etc.

    Again, not saying you shouldn’t, but I’d think twice.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      I also thought that I wouldn’t do it. Even if I only have to listen to your blender for a few minutes, I’d probably find it hella annoying, but also wouldn’t feel okay with speaking up about it.

    2. Dowager Crone*

      We have a company-provided toaster oven/convection oven in our break room. People definitely side-eyed the guy who brought in potatoes and roasted them. Just think how much more side-eye one would get from bringing in their own kitchen equipment and using it to prepare food.

      Any food prep more complicated than heating up already-prepared food or assembling something like a sandwich or salad is outside the norm for office kitchens and impacts perception of you. Everyone has to decide for themselves how okay they are with being the office weirdo. I would think twice about this one, too.

    3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      At a minimum, I’d wait a couple months to get a feel for the office culture and see how people use the kitchen. If you have a hard time picking up on signals maybe this doesn’t help but a really obvious signal might surface. And waiting lets you start building a reputation first so you’re not automatically tagged as The One With The Blender.

      1. Dowager Crone*

        Good point, so here are the signals to look for:

        Does any other person have their own personal kitchen appliances? If no, then think twice about bringing in anything that will stay in the shared kitchen overnight.

        Also, not sure what the plan is for bringing smoothie ingredients is. Here’s a signal for that:

        Do most people just heat up one or two containers of prepared foods? If yes, think twice about bringing in multiple containers and assembling ingredients in the shared kitchen.

    4. Peanut Hamper*

      I don’t quite understand why LW can’t just ASK? If one of my new hires came to me with as reasonable and well thought out a request as LW put to Alison, I would not have an issue with it.

      1. Dowager Crone*

        If LW had not self-described as having difficulty with reading the room, just asking would be great advice. The problem with “just ask” is that the worst that can happen is NOT that someone says no. The worst that can happen is that someone says no and judges you for asking in the first place, leading to a lasting negative impression that becomes hard to overcome. For someone who has trouble reading the room/taking social cues, I don’t advise taking that risk.

      2. Fnordpress*

        As an autistic person – if I asked every single social mores question I had, my boss would hate me. Parsing which questions are socially acceptable to ask is half the battle.

      3. Spooncake*

        A big part of being autistic is the communication difficulties. Asking a straightforward question is actually not that straightforward for us- we know we’re going to struggle with interpreting the answer if it’s not a straight yes or no. It’s also really hard for us to tell if our question is “too weird”, and by the time we reach the workplace a lot of us have a long history of accidentally saying things that are “too weird” which makes the thought of doing it again excruciatingly embarrassing.

  22. Lavender*

    Would it be possible to arrive at your office a few minutes early and make your smoothie before you start work? This wouldn’t work if some people in your office start earlier than you, but if you can get there before anyone has started working you might be able to use it without interrupting anyone’s work. Then you could put it in the fridge for later or have it for breakfast.

  23. CatCat*

    You might want to store the blender in your workspace after you use it so it doesn’t become a communal blender that devolves into “that gross blender everyone else doesn’t clean thoroughly.”

    You also should definintely ask people who sit near the kitchen before bringing it to work.

  24. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

    I’m so curious about this, cause I’ve never heard anything like it! Who’s in charge of testing? Is it tested by someone within the company, or by an outside agency, or a government group? Or does the manufacturer have to certify that it’s safe? What is the testing for particularly? What safety standards? Is this all workplaces and all electrical items?

    1. DannyG*

      In our case the house electrical team would inspect & tag & record where it was located for annual inspection.

    2. Lady_Lessa*

      I did a longer comment about Underwriter’s Laboratories, higher up, with more info.

    1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Aw man, this was supposed to be a reply to the top comment about the Kids in the Hall sketch

  25. ChemistryChick*

    Absolutely bring the blender and follow Alison’s advice! Someone does the same thing where I work and the only reason it’s caused any issue is when the owner leaves the nasty, unwashed container in the sink.

    If you don’t want others using it and want to store it at your desk/locked/whatever, look into a personal sized unit. I bought my MIL a BlendJet for Christmas and she loves it.

  26. WillowSunstar*

    There are smaller blenders one can bring in, of course they do tend to require some chopping of the veggies/fruit beforehand. But this hopefully is something you can do at home & just put the chopped ingredients in small plastic baggies to bring to work.

  27. Anastia Beaverhousen*

    They make small single serving blenders that are stronger now. I would keep frozen fruit and or what I need to make the smoothie at work or bring it in the blender and then add the liquid/ice needed.

    Here is an example of one from Amazon:

  28. Meow*

    It sounds like I’m the odd one out but I would find it strange and offputting if a coworker brought in a blender to work. In general, anything beyond microwaving your food or grabbing a cup of coffee has been considered too elaborate at all of the jobs I’ve had. I wouldn’t say anything though, or hold it against the person, I’d just be secretly annoyed so I guess no harm no foul.

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      I agree. I see two problems.
      (1) Noise. An particularly quiet blender may address this, but blending ice would still be rather loud I imagine.
      (2) Space for prep. I can’t quite get a read, but I think the LW also would need to do the prep (measuring/cutting) in the office and store the cold ingrediants in the shared fridge. This would be rather odd in my experience in an office kitchen.

      Even though the LW apartment is supersmall, it seems like if the problem is storage in their home kitchen that’s probably taking up too much space in a shared office kitchen.

  29. A Simple Narwhal*

    I think if you brought a full-sized blender into the office you might get some weird looks, but if you got a blendjet (a battery operated, single-serving personal blender made for travel) I don’t think it would be too weird. If you were using it at all hours of the day maybe, but once or twice a day for breakfast and/or lunch I think would be perfectly fine.

  30. bunniferous*

    a small Bullet blender would work for this and you can use the top of it to drink your smoothie out of.

  31. lime*

    I know this isn’t what you asked, but I also lived in a very tiny studio apartment with no kitchen– just a mini-fridge and microwave. I was able to create my own kitchen with an inexpensive baker’s rack from Ikea, and a 12-gauge extension cord that was able to safely support a microwave and other appliances. It worked quite nicely for 2 years– no fires, no complaints. As long as you make sure you’re buying the right extension cord to support your electrical needs (easy to Google), it’s possible to do a DIY kitchen.

    That said, I think blending at the office should be fine, especially if you’re using one of those small, personal blenders. Many people wouldn’t bat an eye unless it were excessively loud.

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      When I was a student I got a microwave that also had grill and oven functions – it was brilliant and didn’t take up valuable counter space.
      I still have one (upgraded since) and my oven is mostly used for storage or at Christmas!

  32. Khatul Madame*

    LW, where do you propose to do all the prep? If you wash and cut/chop all the ingredients in the office kitchen, it will be time (and counter-space)-consuming + you will be away from your desk, which in some workplaces may get you in trouble. And then the blender needs to be washed – more time.
    If you plan on keeping frozen ingredients in the office freezer, be mindful of the space and aware that others may help themselves to your stuff.
    Small, pre-loaded blender seems optimal, if your living situation can support prep at home.

  33. Essentially Cheesy*

    Is this a common extra-large city (think NYC) type issue? This situation seems odd and not acceptable.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Could be an efficiency or a share house situation– those are often single rooms, usually with shared bathroom facilities. I’ve seen plenty of those in NYC and DC. It’s less common than it used to be but they’re still around. Though most share houses I’ve encountered have shared kitchen facilities of some sort, even with the mini-fridge and microwave in the room.

    2. housing policy matters*

      Microapartments are a thing, and not just in NYC anymore–they’re spreading to other cities where housing is also scarce & expensive. It’s not “odd” or a non-issue or something that can necessarily be solved by OP just moving.

    3. Ally McBeal*

      Not acceptable? I mean, we could get into a whole discussion about the unacceptability of employers who require their workers to be in-office but refuse to pay them enough to afford a reasonably-sized apartment within commuting distance, but an urban kitchen without permanent counter space is certainly “acceptable,” if not ideal or terribly common. I lived in an apartment for five years without permanent counter space – I bought a couple wooden work stations from IKEA and made do. Did I love it? No. But it was worth the cost of living by myself in my dream city.

    4. DataSci*

      It’s no more “unacceptable” than offices with acres of parking and no public transit. Different cities are different.

    5. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      OP described her place as an apartment. (not a rooming house or communal living situation) I am concerned that the lack of kitchen doesn’t meet habitability standards. Without more information, we can’t really know but in California at least I believe it would not.

      1. allathian*

        It wouldn’t do so in Finland, either. It’s also illegal to sublet rooms without either access to the kitchen of the main apartment or providing space for a mini fridge and microwave at the very least, with some provision for washing the dishes, even if it’s only the bathroom sink used by the tenant.

  34. Ruth*

    To make it clear that this is very dependent on office culture – if someone brought a blender to my office it would be very much Not Okay and the talk of the floor. So I was surprised by the answer here!

  35. dackquiri*

    I just flashed back to Jimmy bringing a juicer into work on Better Call Saul as part of a gambit to get fired.

    This feels like a cruel answer to give to someone with autism but I feel like the answer greatly depends on the situation. How quiet the blender is compared to how many offices are immediately next to the kitchen, how much free counter space there is, your comfort level of others using the blender (it will very likely be viewed as a communal appliance and that will be very difficult to dissuade)… I can foresee a lot of situations where you just do your own thing, everyone keeps their eyes down and it’s nbd, but I can also foresee a few where it is requested you blend no more.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Someone brought in a toaster at our last office, and they were the hero of the floor. Someone from another floor tried to take the toaster once, and there was nearly a riot.

      Management wised up and all kitchens are now equipped with a toaster and an individual-serving coffee machine, plus adequate refrigerator space and a very nice set caddy of dish washing supplies. There are a couple of small dishwashers as well, but most people handwash their mugs and take their lunch tupperware home.

    2. not a hippo*

      Toasters don’tg generally make a lot of noise. (Unless you count my startled yelp when the toast pops up)

    3. npcpo*

      Where I work, someone’s food got stuck in a toaster over, caught fire, and fried the electrical panel. No more toasters or toaster ovens allowed.

  36. KatKatKatKat*

    I’ve been working in offices for my entire career and no one has ever brought in a blender – I just don’t think it’s a good idea while you’re still new. The noise is going to be disruptive and I don’t think smoothies are worth negative attention. Save the blending for at home.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I think LW was writing because blending at home is not really an option.

      But a lot of people have suggested she look into the smaller, much quieter models that are available now, and I think that would be just the ticket.

      1. KatKatKatKat*

        Blending at home on the floor or in your living room is a better option that permanently pissing off your coworkers. Too many offices will find it disturbing – it’s not worth the smoothie.

        1. ThatgirlK*

          I also believe LW was writing in bc they don’t really have room at home. I don’t see the issue, esp if they get a small one and pop into a conference room or un-used office. Hell if they get a battery powered one they could go outside!

  37. AngelicGamer (she/her)*

    OP, if you must get a blender, look into the individual models. Not only for noise and portability but it’ll be seen as more in touch vs out of touch. A lot of people I know who go into offices have one.

  38. keze*

    Seconding everyone suggesting a portable blender/blendjet. My office has multiple small kitchens, but very limited counterspace, so my portable blender is perfect. I rinse it and keep it at my desk after using. I also love Alison’s advice to ask coworkers near the kitchen if it was too loud; I think that will go a long way.

  39. Juniper*

    Where do you plan to leave the fruits/veggies and other smoothie ingredients? As an avid smoothie-consumer, the bags of frozen fruits and veggies, as well as protein powder are pretty large (tbh, maybe 75% of my freezer is dedicated to this). You could always use fresh fruit/veg and/or just bring 1 smoothie-portion with you for the day, but you say you only have a mini-fridge in your home, which makes me think it is unlikely that you have space for 2 litres of frozen raspberries there either.

    I’m in no way trying to discourage you. It’s just that Alison just focused on the noise of the blender, where as I’d be personally irked if someone’s personal stash of fruit/veg was for some reason hogging a ton of space in a communal freezer. So it’s also worth just planning on how you’ll bring only what you need for the day.

    1. Winter*

      Yeah, I’m actually more concerned about the ingredients than the blender. Permanently taking up part of the fridge is not going to go over well unless you have very few people using the fridge, and that’s without even getting into the possibility that the food will be thrown away on a certain day or date. If the LW is storing the ingredients at home and bringing them into the office, then it just seems to make more sense to make the food at home and bring it in a tumbler.

  40. Captain Swan*

    I haven’t gotten one yet but a BlendJet might be just the thing for your situation. According to the ads it’s designed for exactly the purpose you are intending to use it for. Plus you can charge it at home and then bring it in to the office.

  41. thatoneoverthere*

    I don’t think it would be weird at all. Walmart sells a small, quiet blend that has a carafe the size of a typical smootie cup. Its quite small and doesn’t take much space at all. You could probably store in your desk and then use it wherever you like (or where space permits).

    Also if you search “battery powered blender” on Amazon a bunch of items pop up and they look on the small side.

    Some ideas if you don’t want to disturb the office (or at least too much and if your office has spaces for this)

    1. Pop into an available conference and shut the door
    2. Small unused spot in the office
    3. Stair well
    4. unused office
    5. Shut the door briefly to your kitchen in available
    6. If you get a battery powered blender and the weather (and space) permits take it outside!

    1. Annie B*

      Blending smoothies in non-kitchen areas of the office is much, much weirder and potentially even more disruptive than doing it in the kitchen. Even if it muffles the noise. I really would not recommend this.

  42. not a hippo*

    Definitely wait to get a better read of the office culture. If you want to extra sure, double check with your manager.

    A blender wouldn’t really fly here. We’re pretty casual (ripped jeans & tees are the defacto uniform) but a blender would be too noisy and there aren’t enough outlets.

  43. Milksnake*

    My office has a blender and we all make smoothies, it’s no big deal.
    If you’re buying it just be aware other people will use it if it’s left in the kitchen.

  44. TX_trucker*

    This is very dependent on your specific office. Personal kitchen appliances and communal cooking (not just reheating) is very common in my workplace … but that is not the norm in the USA. I suggest you observe what your co workers do for breakfast and lunch. Do they reheat a frozen meal or assemble ingredients for a salad or sandwich? Do they just add milk to their coffee or they break out a milk frother and fancy syrups? And does it vary by the day of the week? Many places have a more “casual” day where some things are more permissive.

  45. Fellow smoothie lover*

    I bought a BlendJet for work – something like that might work well for you!

  46. Looper*

    Blender sounds in the morning when people are already making coffee/chatting/etc. would not be a big deal in most offices, though would refrain from using it after everyone is settled and into work-mode. Also, if your office is small/friendly enough that it won’t get nabbed or destroyed from overuse, allowing others to use it will go a long way in not seem like a nuisance.

    1. Clisby*

      Yes, it’s definitely going to depend on the office. I don’t know that anyone in my husband’s office does anything like this, but I’ve visited there and I can’t imagine using a blender in the (really nice!) office kitchen would bother anyone. First, it’s rare to have more than 5 or 6 people in the office at one time, and the kitchen is off near the room with the printer and a storeroom.

  47. Michelle Smith*

    I used a cheap blender called a Magic Bullet for years at the office. Never had a complaint. Now, this is handled it:
    – I kept it in my office/semi-private space. I consulted with my officemate first and he did not care.
    – I only used it for a minute or less at a time once a day.
    – I did not use it when he was on the phone or talking to someone in person in our office, because it was loud.
    – I cleaned up the cup every day and did not leave gross mess laying around.

    We coexisted pleasantly for 4 years. I would suggest if you’re in a cubicle or have any private space at all that you get one of these small, compact “blenders” (I don’t work for Magic Bullet, use whatever brand you want) and keep it in your personal space. Perfectly fine to carry it to the kitchen every day to keep the noise down if you don’t have an office with a door, but I would NOT store it there.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      Oh and I forgot to mention – I used it right at the start of the day when people were still coming in and getting settled. Would have probably been fine at lunch too. During quieter parts of the day, it might have been slightly more disruptive.

  48. Yellow*

    I work in a very casual office and this would be fine, as long as there were no meetings in the adjoining conference room (terrrible set up!). Be warned that people might have questions about your shake. Any unusual or healthier than normal foods tend to get attention.

  49. BL73*

    Look, simply put, just ask before you bring it in. That’s it. If your supervisor says it’s okay and if you check with those closest to the kitchen as Alison says then you are fine. Clean it, keep it at your desk when not in use.

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      I don’t think asking completely covers it. You can ask and get permission — maybe because that one person does think it’s fine, or maybe because they don’t feel like they have a good reason to say no — and people can still be secretly annoyed that you do it! Just because there isn’t a rule against something doesn’t mean it is socially acceptable. The letter writer explicitly said they miss cues, and this is the kind of trap you can fall into.

      1. Nefera de Nile*

        The manager might OK it because they work in their own office and can’t hear a thing, but the people right outside the kitchen may feel differently!

  50. Manders*

    This reminded me of the time when I worked at a biotech company in the early 2000s. The biotech boom had just busted, and I could see the writing on the wall – the projects had dried up and we literally had nothing to do. Everyone else in my group decided to spend each and every day in the break room area juicing. As in they brought in a juicer and more fruit and veggies than the local grocery’s produce section. They spread that stuff EVERYWHERE and spent a lot of time making a whole lot of noise. And the thing was that this wasn’t an enclosed breakroom. It was a walk-through area between administration and the rest of the building. It was not a great look for them, and when layoffs inevitably happened, they were all hit.

    That being said, I think bringing a blender sounds fine.

  51. Mark*

    Nobody here as every asked permission to bring in a blender. Over the years, people just did it. Blending doesn’t take long, so just saying, “Please excuse me while I blend this” would be a polite way to prepare people for the noise.

  52. Katherine Vigneras*

    My coworker has a bullet blender! She keeps it in a cabinet under the counter so I don’t think most people even know it’s there. I sit very near the kitchen and have never noticed a problematic amount of noise.

  53. Smoothies!*

    I can’t weigh in with any personal experience on bringing equipment to work (though I’d be inclined to ask first myself, I think!)

    I did want to say: perhaps one of those smaller/personal blenders vs a full-size one would be better in an office? It’s been at least a decade or two since I had one, but I remember really loving mine (and I’d imagine tech has only gotten better?)
    -The “pitcher” part of the blender doubled as a cup, which meant less cleanup needed to wash a blender *and* your cup. (My blender came with a number of different lid/rim attachments, so you could also keep leftovers in the cup!)
    -It was overall quieter than the full-size blender we had at the time (though I think our modern full-size is even quieter than that!) the sound quality was a bit more “buzzy” than the larger motor, however, so depending on office layout/how much of a concern noise is, that may be something to consider?
    -I’ve seen a couple people mentioning the risk of equipment disappearing from a shared kitchen, and since the entire blender is much smaller & you’d be using the largest piece of it to drink from after, it’d be a lot easier to keep the blender in your bag/at your desk/etc, I think?

  54. Beancounter Eric*

    Forget little battery electric blenders…..there are a couple of companies which make gas-powered blenders….one in particular has a 2.25HP 2-Stroke engine…..perfect for office smoothie blending, or other frozen drinks!! Light enough for one person to carry, and powerful enough to knock our a pitcher of, well, whatever, in about 11 seconds.

    So, you have to take it outside to run it, and mix oil and gasoline to fuel it…..your beverage is important, yes??

    Seriously, though, a couple of companies I’ve worked for had a blender as part of the kitchen equipment setup – either enough people, or a higher-up or two were into smoothies so the office bought the machine. Might be worth asking your office manager or similar person. Perhaps your colleagues would be interested.

    Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  55. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    To avoid noise, aggravation, having your blender nicked, asking permission ….

    I used to use a Nutribullet and just brought in my shake in the sealed Nutribullet cup:
    At home in the morning I would chuck in frozen berries/chopped fruit & frozen spinach chunks plus nut butter, oats, yoghurt or whatever and it only took 10-20 seconds to blend.
    Then I’d take the cup off the blender and screw the cap on – it was then completely water-tight for transport to the office. I’d wash the cup in the office kitchen. You could take the blender blades in a bag to wash too.
    In summer, I sometimes made 2-3 shakes because I couldn’t face hot canteen lunches. Depends if your office fridge has space for 2-3 cups.

  56. Moonstone*

    I’ve seen ads on YouTube for a small personal blender that (according to the ad) is quiet and portable. It’s called the BlendJet 2. I’ve never used it before so I have no idea if it is any good but that might be a good alternative to a large, countertop blender. Plus you could take it home each day. So I would probably look for something like that.

  57. MollyWood*

    I don’t think this is a great idea. at a minimum, I would wait for about 3 months before even thinking about it. you want to get a feel for the office and how many people are in the break room at any one time and noise levels and all types of things. and whenever I think about whether or not I should do something like this, I find it helpful to ask myself if it’s scalable? if everybody else in the group decided to do the same thing, is it workable? in this case the answer is no. having everybody at work bring in all types of kitchen appliances and have them go at once during lunch time is not workable or practical. I would also look at how many office situations arise because of kitchen etiquette. office Wars have started over less. you mentioned that you have trouble reading social cues so you might wind up in a situation where people are subtly trying to let you know that they find this weird and noisy, and you aren’t picking up on it and people get frustrated.

  58. Spicy Tuna*

    People did this at my last job (they also used waffle irons and other kitchen appliances). I think it’s fine, especially if you are restricting the blending to “normal” meal times. My office was right next door to the kitchen and between 12-1:30, there was always more traffic than usual, along with more chatter as people talk as they are waiting for their food to heat or bread to toast, etc.

  59. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    I keep getting targeted ads for an individual rechargeable belnder bottle. I have no idea how well these things work, but they seem like they might fit the needs of this letter writer. A quick amazon search for “travel blender” produced a bunch of options that could easily be stored in a desk drawer or thrown in a backpack.

  60. SB*

    A blender is something I would approve for purchase as a communal use item if I was approached. It is an inexpensive item & very much justifiable (I have discretion over my employee comforts budget under $200) & as long as people cleaned it thoroughly after each use it would be a popular asset to the breakroom…same as the sandwich press, pie warmer & ice maker.

  61. LyraInOz*

    Interestingly, our office just added a blender (Nutribullet) to the kitchen, next to the coffee machine. It has a laminated sheet of instructions but it has yet to be used by anyone. I mean I think a shared blender, outside of family is kind of gross personally. I think the noise would be the main concern for other people though.

  62. it's-a-me*

    Everyone in my office would give each other significant glances and raised eyebrows when our coworker would use her nutribullet twice a day. Then again we are a call centre and she was disrupting EVERYONE.

  63. firsttimecaller*

    I might suggest coming in a few minutes before most people come in for the day and do the blending then, so the least amount of people are likely to complain. If there are a lot of phone calls/meetings in the office I can see someone complaining if you use the blender mid-morning

  64. cncx*

    In my offices (the three I have worked in since corona), the noise of a blend jet or a nutri bullet type blender would be fine, two of them had the freezer space for ingredients. My current office has very limited fridge space and only the nutri bullet cup of the day or two would be socially acceptable for storage. I’m lowkey neurospicy and have job hopped a lot recently so my vibe check is I feel like prepping bullets at home and blending them at work is probably the way to go in terms of mixing optics and practicality.

  65. RPOhno*

    It’s worth noting that your office may have some office safety policies on what small appliances you can and can’t have on site. Usually it’s things like “no space heaters or hot plates” or “no small appliances in your office/cubicle” but sometimes it’s broader, like “all small appliances must be UL rated” or “all small appliances must be commercial grade”. Worth checking into before bringing a blender on site, but usually the worst that would come of it is that you’d be asked to bring it home

  66. AAM_fan*

    I have a battery powered, USB charged blender that I use at work to make smoothies and LOVE it, was about $50.

  67. ImJustGonnaBlendIt*

    I brought one of those blenders where the cups is built in. Our break area was too open to use it there, though. I only felt comfortable using it on a different floor where there was a much more rarely used break room with a door and I just kept it in a cabinet there.

  68. Funny*

    This advice seems off to me. Just because LW is renting an apartment without what is to her a necessary amenity, doesn’t mean it’s okay to use her workplace as a substitute. If LW was renting an apartment without a shower, would it be ok for her to bathe in the bathroom sink? If you want to make smoothies at work so they’re fresh and don’t melt, ok, maybe, but the fact that your apartment doesn’t have a kitchen is irrelevant to the issue IMO, and the fact that LW is emphasizing it so much is concerning. That is to say: LW, if you wouldn’t bring a blender to work if you DID have a kitchen at home, you shouldn’t do it at all.

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I don’t agree with this logic – I have a coffee maker at home and I still use my workplace’s coffee. I have a shower at home and if it breaks, I would use the workplace’s shower in the gym.

      I wouldn’t make coffee at my boss’s desk or shower in the sink, because that would be an inappropriate location to do those things in. But kitchens are normal places to have blenders, and blenders are within the range of normal things to use in a kitchen, regardless of how much access you have to a blender outside of work.

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