Is There a Right and Wrong Way to Eat Lunch at Your Desk?

Or should you even be having a bite "al desko" in the first place?

desk lunch
There are rules, apparently, for eating "al-desko." (Getty Images)
Getty Images/Westend61

Eating lunch at your desk can have quite the negative effect on your relationships with coworkers — looking at you, pungent tuna salad — but keeping to a few “rules” can ensure interoffice peace.

But those guideline can be drastically different, depending on who you ask, The Guardian discovered. One expert, the founder and “chief happiness officer” of the workplace consultancy Happy, Henry Stewart, thinks eating at one’s desk is a huge no-no.

“It’s madness,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to get people out of the hamster wheel of continual work. It’s not good for them and it’s not good for the organisation. All the research shows that people work more effectively if they take breaks.”

But others think it’s “totally OK,”—depending on what you pull out of your lunchbox.

“It’s absolutely OK to eat a snack at your desk,” says Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette. “You simply want to be cautious of eating smelly food. Etiquette is all about being kind, respectful and considerate of others.”

Another takeaway from its investigation, The Guardian discovered, was the debate over desk lunch lingo.

“Is it OK to use the words ‘al desko’?,” the site wondered. It’s an “abomination,” author Helen Jones concluded. While Meier believes the phrase “adds humor to a rather dull form of dining and makes people think of dining at their desks in a way that requires thoughtfulness.”

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