Thursday, August 21, 2014

Etiquette's 10 Commandments of Al Desko Dining

Up to 75% of workers are estimated to eat lunch at their desks at least twice a week due to  the pressure to achieve more at work in less time, increased pressure on people and the difficulty of juggling work and family life.
Why do employees bring their lunches to eat at their desks, when there are diners, cafes and fast-food places desperate for their lunch break business?  In offices around the world, time-pressed workers can't find space in their busy work days for a proper lunch break, so they eat at their desks, leaving folks munching on snacks or scoffing sandwiches while simultaneously sending off emails at their desks. Dining al desko has become more than just a trend these days. It is now becoming the norm, and there is etiquette for this dining phenomenon.  Here are the top ten etiquette rules to follow:
Leave the fish at home. Nothing smelly should be in one's cubicle.
  1. Don't eat anything smelly at your desk.  This rules out dining on most pickled foods and most fish, along with a host of other offenders, like garlic. If you have to eat a raw onion salad take your lunch to the break-room, the parking lot or the nearest park bench.
  2. Eat quietly please. No slurping, burping, loud crunching or loud munching.
  3. Try to eat when others are out to lunch themselves. Stop eating if a co-worker pauses by your cubicle or stops by your office. People always have to answer a question just as their mouths are filled.
  4. Keep your meal in your own cubicle or office space.  Don't wander around the office while eating. It annoys others and mishaps can happen easily.
    Don't share your opinion of your lunch via noises you may make. Put yourself in a zen-like, private zone... Along with its ping-pong tables and hammocks and free food, über-workplace "Google" now holds a monthly "silent lunch" at its Californian headquarters.
  5. Keep a mirror handy at your desk. Check for stray pieces of food on your clothes, face, or in your teeth.  If you need to remove something from any of those three places, please go to the restroom to remove it.
  6. Don't share your opinion of your lunch via noises you may want to make. Put yourself in a zen-like, private zone. Don't make eye contact with colleagues while eating either. It can come off as creepy.
  7. Pick up crumbs and any other dropped food immediately and pop it into your trash bin. If you eat at your desk often, keep some wet-wipes handy for quick clean-ups.
  8. Don't share your lunch with your keyboard or any other office equipment that may have to be replaced. Clear a space along your desk to eat away from electronics or important paperwork. 
  9. If you spill in the lunchroom or break-room microwave oven, clean it up.  The same goes for the company refrigerator.
  10. Never steal a co-worker's lunch, or any food for that matter, regardless of how good it smells or looks. It is the worst of manners. It is very polite to share however!    
If you have something tasty, and have more than enough, do offer to share.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator for Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia