Real Talk: It’s Not OK To Eat at Your Desk, According to These Women

Woman eating at desk


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Leah Thomas866

There are little habits that our coworkers have that drive us up a wall. One FGB'er wrote to the FGB Community to ask others’ opinions on eating lunch at your work desk. 

“For me, it's so annoying when my coworkers eat their lunches at their desks,” she said. “And yes, we do have a kitchen. Any advice?”

Another FGB’er replied to ask why the original poster was bothered by this specifically. 

“I'm guilty. I started it so long ago that now it's a really bad habit. However, I'm really trying to do better, so I add it to my work calendar and leave my desk. What about it bugs you? Is it the smell? Or that they can't break away from work for an hour?”

The original poster clarified: “The smell mostly, and sometimes even the sounds of eating. And I think it's kind of disrespectful.”

Several other FGB’ers responded to the post to offer their opinions and personal lunch preferences.

“Wow, it never occurred to me that it might bother anyone,” one woman wrote. “I honestly have no choice but to try to work through lunch sometimes, but I will try to think about eating elsewhere if I have the option. It never bothered me before when people did it around me, so I'll try to be more conscientious about it.”

Another said: “I’m totally fine with others eating at their desk, unless it’s food that’s really loud to chomp on. Has anyone eaten an apple around you? It’s louder than you might realize.”

And a third said: “I don’t think those that eat at their desk are deliberately rude. I look at it as there is probably more work that can be completed in an eight-hour day, and they choose to work through their lunch rather than working late.”

While the sound of others eating can be somewhat annoying and even distracting at times, this issue is probably best to deal with individually. 

If the noise bothers you (or if you have a coworker who only enjoys eating particularly noisy foods!), try putting on noise-canceling headphones while they are eating. Play your own music, listen to a podcast, step outside for your lunch or put on some white noise to distract you.

If the issue is a coworker repeatedly bringing in very potent food that affects the entire office, you may consider contacting HR. But, we would only recommend doing so if the issue becomes regular and unbearable. 

“I honestly believe this is an issue you need to deal with on your end,” one woman wrote. “Expecting multiple coworkers to change for you is unreasonable, and you have no information about why it is they choose to eat at their desks. Maybe they have enough going on that they don't want to or can't take that break. Maybe they don't like taking that time because their mind wanders to dark places when unoccupied. I truly understand how awful it can be to listen to people eat, and that's where headphones become an amazing tool. Pop them in, and tune the co-workers out.”

For all other work, relationship or family questions, reach out to the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice and personal stories from other FGB women everywhere. 

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For all work, career and lifestyle questions, consult the Fairygodboss Community to receive advice from other FGB'ers.