A professional’s lunch hour is considered their down time to relax, refuel and mentally prepare for the remainder of the work day.
Whether you spend this time alone eating at your desk, or you decide to grab a bite with colleagues at the cafeteria or a local sandwich shop, there are a few etiquette rules to follow to make your lunch time more enjoyable for both you and your fellow co-workers.
1~ Skip the Smelly Food. Even if you enjoy leftovers from your seafood dinner the night before, placing food items with a strong odor in the microwave can fill the entire area with a powerful smell. To those colleagues that don’t like, or are allergic to seafood, this can cause illness. Try to keep foods with strong smells at home. This can go for things topped with onions and even tuna.
2~ Clean Up Your Messes. If you spill coffee or soda on the break room counter, or your meal boils over in the microwave – clean it up. Always leave the break room tidy after you are done using it. Your colleagues will appreciate the cleanliness, and no one wants to have to consistently clean up your careless messes.
3~ Don’t Forget Food. A shared work refrigerator can quickly become the gathering place for outdated condiments and forgotten snacks. The rule of etiquette for putting food in the refrigerator at work is to throw away, or simply remove, anything that you haven’t eaten in one week.
4~ Don’t Burn the Popcorn. Burned popcorn in the microwave can cause a powerful scent that is almost impossible to get rid of. If you accidentally burn your afternoon snack, be sure to remedy the situation instead of leaving the smell for everyone else. Place a bowl of water in the microwave with one tablespoon of baking soda mixed in. Set the microwave on high for five minutes and then wipe the whole inside down. This should remove all lingering odors.
5~ Never Steal Food. A very important food rule that everyone must follow at the office is to only eat their own food. Going through other colleague’s lunches for a quick snack is not only rude, but pathetic and only makes enemies. If you forgot a lunch or snack – buy one. It’s never okay to help yourself to food in the break room that’s not yours.
Food etiquette in the office may not seem that important, but following these simple rules will help keep the peace at work, and your colleagues will appreciate you for it.