Revealed: The lunchtime taboos you should avoid at work

New survey reveals that it’s time to put down the pint and ditch the fish as we discover the lunchtime taboos that bug office workers.

Nearly half of UK professionals (46.2 per cent) believe that there are lunchtime taboos that you should avoid at work, with a further 58.8 per cent agreeing that you should say something to repeat offenders of these food faux pas.

This is according to the latest research from CV-Library, which surveyed 1,000 workers to explore their attitudes towards eating habits in the workplace. When asked what they believe to be the biggest lunchtime taboos, respondents say:
Drinking alcohol on your lunch break (39 per cent)
Eating smelly food (36.8 per cent)
Making a mess of the shared kitchen (32.2 per cent)
Eating too unhealthily (28.2 per cent)
Not taking a lunch break at all (25.4 per cent)
Taking too long on your lunch break (22 per cent)

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!

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…

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!

Simon from Milton Keynes: I work with a man in his 50’s 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!’

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.

Further reading on lunchtime

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Workplace Culture

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