Mar 14, 2016
Jan 2, 2024

Office Hack #3 — The Microwave of Shame

Today’s office hack turns healthy eating into a social psychology experiment.
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Office Hack #3 — The Microwave of Shame

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our new Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

Today’s Office Hack turns healthy eating into a social psychology experiment.

San Francisco digital printing company, Social Print Studio, has a FULL kitchen, stocked with fresh, natural food and they want their team to eat healthy. As you can see, they even champion healthy eating on their website…

Despite the fact that Social Print Studio proudly proclaims “Note the conspicuous lack of microwave #dealwithit” on their website, some of the team began lobbying… to get an office microwave.

Predictably, there was a backlash.

“There are some people in the company who feel like the microwave represents everything about our society that is evil and fast food in nature.” Jason, Social Print Studio

You would think that this would have to be a black or white decision — you either get a microwave or you don’t. Social Print Studio, though, likes to do things differently.

So they invented… The Microwave of Shame.

They created an Office Hack designed to zap the confidence of microwavers and to guilt them back to non-nuclear cooking.

“We finally decided, we’ll get one but we just won’t put it in the kitchen. And that will be the way that Social Print Studio (SPS) does a microwave.” Ben Lotan — CEO of Social Print Studio

And so they did not put the microwave in the kitchen.

They put it… in the middle of the office. On a pedestal. So that if you want to use the microwave, you’re on full display in front of the entire office.

“It’s literally placed at a point in the office where if you use it, everyone in the office will know. It’s positioned in a way to ostracize whoever is using it.” Jason, Social Print Studio

And if THAT wasn’t enough, they hooked up a live webcam to the top of the microwave so that everyone on the internet can see who has dared to use the Social Print Studio microwave as well.

One additional benefit is the impact of a creative microwave strategy on team culture.

“I’m not personally against anyone using the microwave, but I do like that it’s this weird ritual of going up to the podium and announcing to the whole office that you’re about to use it.” Tim, Customer Experience at Social Print Studio

And in case you’re wondering… so far, the Microwave of Shame has indeed delivered the intended result.

Hardly anyone ever uses it.

How to hack it

If you’d like to set-up your own streaming, shaming food-nuking station, it’s pretty straightforward:


  • One microwave oven (approx. $100)
  • One pedestal (approx. $50)
  • One webcam (approx. $25)
  • Total cost — approx. $175


  • Put the microwave on the pedestal, put the web cam on top of the microwave, and put it all smack-dab in the middle of the room.
  • Put a link to the webcam on your company website and invite the world to watch your team re-heat their lunches.
  • Enjoy.

Listen & Subscribe

You can listen to the full story in the Envoy Office Hacks podcast. Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes — just click here and hit ‘subscribe’

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This post was written by one of the many writers at Envoy who are passionate about helping educate and inspire workplace leaders. We cover everything from the visitor and employee experience, to space and delivery management, to the workplace tech-stack that keeps it all running.

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