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Eating at the Office

In today's fast paced society, eating at your desk is becoming an increasely expected part of the office environment. If you do eat at your workspace, here are some business dining etiquette tips to keep in mind to avoid offending your coworkers.

Mess/Clutter. Don't let your workspace look like the buffet line at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Keep it clean. If you eat at your desk, keep some Clorex wipes near by and wipe it down afterwards.

Smell. Don't eat pungent foods at work. There most likely won't be a window to open the air things out. Avoid:

  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Asian Food
  • Indian Foods

Location. Eat in the break room or an outdoor space if available (avoid eating at your desk if possible). See what others at your level are doing. Are they eating at their desks?

  • If you have an office, keep the door closed.
  • Don't eat in front of customers.
  • Don't eat while walking the halls.
  • Don't hide out in the copy room to eat.

Eat before you are on the clock. Many workers think the first 30 minutes of the workday is meant for them to grab a cup of coffee and snack to eat at their desk. Eat before settling in for the day.

Timing. If eating at your cubicle, do so when most other employees are absent and out on their own meal break: 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., 5 p.m. to 5:40 p.m., or 10:45 to 11:12 p.m.

Noise. Don't loudly smack your lips or burp. In a cubicle, even chewing food can disturb coworkers.

Socialize. Take advantage of an occassional lunchtime with coworkers to socialize.

Community Candy. Don't keep candy at your workstation unless you want to be distracted throughout your work day.

Brush Your Teeth. Find a place for a toothbrush and toothpaste at your desk and brush your teeth after eating.

business lunch etiquette

- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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