Eating at Desks

George Heron

George Heron

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Phone 01952 566918

13 July 2016

A BBC report recently alluded to research which suggests that over 75% of American workers frequently eat at their desk. It is extremely possible that this may apply to staff at your company too. You may, or may not, be aware of the issues that can arise as a result of this.

One major issue can be food which smells strongly. This could work two ways. An extremely appetising smell could potentially be a huge distraction within an office environment, as well as being extremely annoying for those on diets or health kicks! Alternatively, a strong smelling lunch could be deemed unpleasant by some employees – which may end up being a source of conflict between staff.

A second issue is that of hygiene. Desks and keyboards harbour notoriously high numbers of germs. It is therefore inherently unhygienic for staff to eat at their desks. Given the bacteria that have been shown to thrive on office keyboards, desk based dining could be the cause of many bouts of sickness absence.

Thirdly, food at desks has the potential to damage your equipment, which may necessitate costly repairs. Crumbs in a keyboard can remain there for a great length of time and any other spillages or accidents could potentially prove very costly.

So… what actions can you take? It is essential that you are consistent with any actions you implement. For instance, if you are faced with complaints about a staff member eating curry at their desk, it would be extremely risky to simply ban curry from your workplace as the employee could easily claim this action is discriminatory. A policy prohibiting any strong smelling foods, on the other hand, would avoid this potential claim. Provided you have a place where employees can go to eat their food, you could even implement a policy stating that no foods can be consumed at desks.

Whatever you decide, Alpha can help. We have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical and tailored policies that are specific to your requirements. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.

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