Food is great. We know we need it to survive, but we also know that certain foods come with benefits for our mental health, or make us super horny – but what if I told you some foods could also lose you friends in the office? Australian workers eat three out of five lunches at their desks on average and new data from Deliveroo, our favourite service for simple and convenient office catering and corporate food delivery, has dished on Australia’s biggest qualms when it comes to office eating etiquette (read: don’t reheat your fucking cod when I’m typing invoices, Barb).
We’ve all been there – sitting exhaustedly at our work computers, over-caffeinated and bitchy because Jean from accounts can’t get her shit together. The only thing that could make this open-office plan hellhole worse is the stench of your co-worker’s reheated fish floating toward your desk. Any office worker who has worked through lunch (and dinner) knows the desktop isn’t just a place for your computer, it’s also a makeshift dining table.
Firstly, the good news: it seems that the younger we are, the more considerate we get. 90% of Gen Z and 88% of Millennials believe office eating etiquette is important, a marked increase in the national average of 86%.
When it comes to the most unacceptable foods to enjoy in the office, sardines (36%) and reheated fish (33%) take the cake, with over a third of workers wanting these lunch options outlawed in the workplace. Cold fish was an issue for over a quarter (26%) whilst reheated vegetables should be cancelled, according to nearly one in ten (9%).
According to the stats, more than a quarter of office workers claim that stinky food irks them more than noisy munchers – but it’s close. Deliveroo has profiled the top four offenders of Al Desko Dining faux pas:
The Stink Bomber: the colleague who unleashes a deadly nasal assault upon you with their lunch. It’s either tuna, street meat, fish tacos, or a tamarind curry. 30% of millennials believe this is the most frustrating scenario to encounter at work.
The Fad Dieter: this week it’s Keto, last week she was vegan, and now she’s on a freaking juice cleanse. This eater is always on the latest and greatest dieting trend, attempting to lose that last five kilos, and judging anyone who’s not on the same diet as them. Workers in Queensland (29%), Tasmania (42%) and Western Australia (30%) rank the fad dieter as their least favourite al desko behaviour to deal with.
The Loud Chewer: a close relative of the coffee slurper who has workers contemplating murder by stapler during morning meetings. The loud chewer makes noises you didn’t think were humanly possible while swallowing down an unassuming-looking sandwich from the corner deli.
The Seagull: never happy with what’s in front of them, the seagull is often found lurking and scabbing from other people’s lunches. Hide your Pringles.
Joe Satari from Deliveroo said:
“Modern lunchtime habits have completely transformed. The era of the two-martini lunch has all but disappeared and gone are the days of a formal sit-down lunch.”
If you’re worried about committing an Aussie office lunch faux pas, Deliveroo suggests attempting to eat at a similar time to everybody else in your office. If everyone is busy eating, they’re less likely to be distracted by the rank fumes of your sardine roll. If in doubt though, the politest thing is just to ask your direct office neighbours if they mind you eating at your desk. Most importantly, don’t forget to clean up once you’ve finished eating! You can also stick to fresh sandwiches and salads to be super safe – just sayin’.