Lunchtime. Ideally you take a few minutes to get away from your desk, enjoy a little refreshment and quiet before you start the afternoon madness. In some break rooms there is more likely to be a food fight. You wonder if your coworkers are the ones that tied up the middle school cafeteria lady and locked her in the cooler. Business etiquette means conducting yourself and others respectfully even in the lunchroom or break lounge. You have every right to expect your fellow employees to adhere to these 7 guidelines:
1. Don’t take things that belong to other people. Even if the apple has been in the refrigerator for three days, ask before you eat it. If you forgot dressing for your salad, ask before you use someone else. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
2. Keep food in the refrigerator current. Fuzzy food does not belong in the refrigerator. It belongs in the garbage. Which brings us to….
3. Smelly food should not be kept in the lunchroom. Food that has spoiled should be sealed in a bag or container and disposed of in a dumpster away from everyone. Don’t dump it in the trashcan where it stinks up the whole room and ruins everyone else’s lunch. The same idea applies if you are heating strong smelling food in the microwave. Be considerate. Mom’s onion and garlic shrimp pasta can be carried outside to a table where you will enjoy it and others won’t have to endure the aroma, good or bad, all afternoon.
4. About that microwave… Don’t hog it. If others are waiting to use the microwave don’t spend twenty minutes cooking. Bring in food items that can be heated in five to seven minutes. Always cover your food. When it is done, remove your lunch and clean up any splatters. Your mother will be very pleased, as will your coworkers. And never leave the popcorn unattended. It will burn (Murphy’s Law) and the fragrance will linger for days.
5. News Flash! No one else is going to wash your dishes. When you finish eating throw away the trash and wash the dirty dishes. Your mom may have said it was okay to rinse them and leave them in the sink. Not here, Pal. Pack them up to go home.
6. If you are constantly cleaning out the office snack cupboard, be willing to refill it. Unless you work for a company that handles food distribution, someone brought in snacks. If there is a jar for contributions, contribute. Otherwise, buy a box to share with others next trip to the market.
7. The lunchroom is for lunch or breaks:
It is not the place for meetings, assignations, or gossip.
It is not where you sell home party products or band fundraisers. Don’t make fellow employees eat their lunches hiding under the desk to avoid your sales spiel. Let others approach you.
It is not the sick room. If you are sick, go home. Don’t share germs.