This infographic was produced in 2016 but this blog post has been updated in January 2021.
A 2016 survey found that only 1 in 3 workers in the US take a lunch break, so it’s no wonder office lunchtime etiquette is becoming a lost art. It’s even easier to forget how to carry ourselves at happy hours or out-of-office meals with the team in a work culture where socialization and work-life balance often go to the wayside. Fortunately, our friends at Ghergich & Co.have come up with a great infographic to share best-in-practice tips and guidelines for work-appropriate dining and to socialization. Here is your etiquette advice for staying professional and having fun.
The office lunch break is not what it used to be. With the 2020 pandemic relocating most professionals to the home office, this has never been more true. The office lunch break used to be the consumate opportunity to socialize and network. Now it’s more like solitary confinement with about 65% of employees eating at their desks or not eating at all – talk about a long day and potentially unhealthy habits
How Eating Habits Can Fuel Productivity
In order to perform your best and adjust to the new lunchtime norm in a healthier way, it is recommended to eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least 4 times per week. Professionals who adhere to this guideline are 20% more likely to be more productive. Employees who eat healthy all day long are 25% more likely to have higher job performance.
Your “Office” Eating Conditions Impact Your Emotional State
A University of Berlin study looked at how lunchtime eating conditions affected thinking and emotional states. The researchers found that the restaurant eaters reported: increased feelings of relaxation and reduced cognitive control which has been linked to social harmony and creativity.
When You’re Dining in the Office, Avoid these Lunchtime Faux Pas
First, avoid pungent foods like garlic, onion or heavy spices. You don’t want to have your colleagues totally avoiding you! Also respect lunchtime and eat when others are eating. This way you will be less of a distraction to others. Keep a clean and organized workspace to create a sense of professionalism as well as an appetizing dining area. And finally, clean and disinfect your workspace regularly if you’re eating at your desk. Don’t forget to also keep the office kitchen clean if you are sharing a dining space.
Happy Hour Etiquette is Also Important
Happy Hour is another office event that incorporates drinks and food (usually more drinks than food). The most important rules to follow when attending Happy Hour could save your job from any drama or embarrassment:
- Stick to one drink or two. Absolutely pace yourself. This is not a keg party.
- The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you are to gossip. You want to avoid gossiping.
- Treat your boss like you’re still at work. Don’t get too casual.
- Stick to light conversation and avoid office-inappropriate topics.
- Participate even if you choose not to drink and allow others around you to feel comfortable drinking.
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