06 September 2011 08:23 AM | By James Francis
Tips For Maintaining A Peaceful Office

Your Desk Is Not A Buffet Table

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Your Desk Is Not A Buffet Table
Smelly, messy or noisy food is often an office irritant. Be thoughtful about your food before eating at your desk.

Eating lunch at your desk is useful on many levels. First, it lets you get some time in on extra work (or, let's be honest, surfing the web and goofing around on email). Second, it avoids the problem of finding a good spot to sit and eat, unless you managed to secure a chair on the balcony or in the cafeteria.

But it is also a big annoyance among co-workers, especially if your food is messy, or most importantly, smelly. The general rule is that your desk is for working, and it is fair to assume that people who spend their lunch hour in front of their computers are working. So anything that would count as rude or distracting during general work hours still counts while during lunch.

Foods with exotic odours are particularly loathed, since the smell can be unpleasant and can hang around long after you're done eating. Spicy foods, melted cheese and any kind of fish dish are main culprits, especially when they have been freshly microwaved. Noisy food stuffs count as well; a bag of chips might seem innocent enough, but all that crunching and rustling can turn some folks postal.

The solution is quite simple: avoid eating at your desk. Find a spot somewhere away from areas where people are working, and enjoy it in peace. Co-workers have to tolerate each other, so that also means that they cannot complain about your choice in cuisine. You just have to meet them halfway and not eat it where they are working (it's also better for your waistline and stress levels to get away from your desk).

The same goes if you have a problem eater near you: you have to respect their food choice, but they have to respect your work area. Ask politely that they eat their lunch away from their (and your) desks.


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