Modern Etiquette: Grabbing a bite to eat at your office desk

Mon Jul 8, 2013 6:36am EDT
 
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By Mary M. Mitchell

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Lunch or just a little snack at your desk?

It's rude to eat in front of someone else who is not partaking. On the other hand, nobody expects you to share your Philly cheesesteak should they walk in on you grabbing a quick bite to eat in the office.

Unless you want the other person to sit down, stand up (or at least make like you would like to, were your lap not filled with food particles of varying sizes), and ask if you can get back to them when you're finished.

Give a time-frame, and stick to it. Try: "I'll be finished in another 10 minutes and will come by then."

There are a few other caveats to remember.

Your lunch should not smell so much it attracts attention, negative or positive. It's not bait for a visit. Nobody should be able to hear you chomping it, either, or slurping your soup or beverage. Otherwise, you may well end up the brunt of office jokes, and deservedly so.

When the office has a communal kitchen, some rules for peaceful coexistence should apply.

First and foremost spell out who is in charge of the kitchen and has the authority to determine when and how it is cleaned. Post the rules clearly (together with whatever rule you might have about kitchen postings). Is the refrigerator door fair game for announcements beyond the cleaning schedule?   Continued...

 
A cup of tea is seen on an office table at the Tregothnan Estate near Truro in Cornwall January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth