The lunchtime taboos you should avoid at work

drinking on lunch break

The latest research which surveyed 1,000 workers explored their attitudes towards eating habits in the workplace.

When asked what they believe to be the biggest lunchtime taboos, respondents said: drinking alcohol on your lunch break, eating smelly food, making a mess of the shared kitchen, eating too unhealthily, not taking a lunch break at all and taking too long on your lunch break.

Interestingly, drinking alcohol at lunch was identified as the top workplace taboo. The news comes just days after Lloyd’s of London banned staff from drinking during work hours and a man was arrested for drink driving after turning up to a police interview over the legal limit.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments: “Although how you choose to spend your lunchtime, and what you eat is down to personal choice, it’s clear that there are certain faux pas that professionals find hard to ignore. We spend a great deal of our time at work, and if your lunchtime habits are having a negative impact on your colleagues it could be time to rethink your choices.

“Not only this, but drinking alcohol, taking a long lunch break or even not taking one at all can also have damaging effect on your productivity. So when making your lunchtime decisions be conscious of your colleagues, and also remember that despite being entitled to a break, you still have an afternoon of work ahead of you to get through!”

The study also encouraged respondents to share their experiences of lunchtime blunders. Below CV-Library has pulled out the top ten:

  • Katie from Guildford said: “I once had fish for lunch and I re-heated it in the microwave, it made the whole office smell and everyone knew it was me – I was so embarrassed!”
  • Thomas from Glasgow: “I was working in a factory a few years ago and one of my colleagues came back from the pub, a little worse for drink, and severely injured himself on a rotating band-saw.”
  • James from Manchester: “We had a contractor in last year and he decided to turn the toaster on its side in an attempt to cook cheese on toast, and it caught on fire…”
  • Megan from Winchester: “We had a colleague who always stole other people’s food, we all knew who it was but no one wanted to confront them.”
  • Chris from Wolverhampton: “A lady in my office eats and talks at the same time, and she barely takes a breath in between. It can be messy and is definitely not a pretty sight!”
  • Tammy from Leeds: “I opened a yoghurt at my desk and it spilled all over my keyboard and in between the keys – my manager was furious.”
  • Lauren from Kidderminster: “It was my first day at my new job and during the lunch break I was forced into a chilli eating competition as part of my induction.”
  • Simon from Milton Keynes: “I work with a man in his 50s who still has his mum make his sandwiches for him every day. And every day he unwraps the tinfoil and says “oh no she’s made me ham butties again!”
  • Isaac from Hull: “My colleagues go out drinking at lunchtime and then have to sleep it off in the print room.”
  • Jayne from Newport: “During lunch some of my colleagues would eat so much that they would go and take a nap in the toilet stall afterwards.”
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