Etiquette at the Workplace: Part 1

Food & Drinks

Do you often wonder why people move away from you when you start eating? Or no invitations to business lunches and dinners come your way? Your table manners may be the culprit. An office is a place where people work at close quarters for long hours. While being good at your work is part of the key to a successful career, it is equally important to be popular and well liked. A few annoying habits could be detrimental to your career.

Pay close attention to your office environment, a few rules may be more relaxed for some, than for others.  It is important to blend in and make sure the experience of working with you is pleasurable for your colleagues.

In the first of many parts, we will be dealing with everything related to eating and drinking in the office.


The Office


– Share your lunch

– Avoid munching on raw onions & garlic. If this is unavoidable, always gargle immediately after with a mouthwash.

– Respect other people’s food choices, if your colleague is a vegetarian, always ask if they comfortable with you eating non vegetarian in their presence.

– If you are a vegetarian and cannot stand the smell of other food, move away without comment or eat later. It is rude to ask the opposite person to move, unless they offer to do so first.

– Use a spoon/fork at all times. Do not eat with your hands.

– Chew with your mouth closed. Nobody wants to see the food being digested while it’s still in your mouth.

– If you are following a diet, keep it to yourself. There is no need to advertise it.

– Label your food before with your name before placing it in the communal refrigerator. If it still gets stolen, don’t make a scene. Take additional care next time.

– Clean up after yourself

– If you are going to get something to eat or drink, it’s courteous to offer to get something for the people sitting with you.

– If you have to reheat your food, do so in an airtight container to avoid stinking up the whole office building.

– Avoid eating noisy things like chips and unwrapping crinkly wrappers from sweets and chip packets during work hours. It is very distracting.




– While ordering a communal lunch where everyone goes pitches in, don’t quibble over a few rupees. If you have an issue, calculate your share from first and keep exact change. It is considered childish and rude to remove a calculator in front of everyone and then insist on paying Rs. 246 instead of Rs. 250.

– Do not eat anyone else’s food without asking. This is especially for the refrigerator thieves.

– Avoid eating your lunch at your desk unless it is a quick sandwich or salad.

– Do not chew gum! If you have to, nobody should know you have gum in your mouth. This is for all the people who think chewing gum like a cow is cool. It’s not. There is nothing more disgusting.

– Do not lick your fingers

– Do not talk with your mouth full.

– Do not gesticulate with your cutlery. You might injure somebody.



About Serena Rayani

Serena is the principal image consultant and owner of Serendipity Image Management Studio. Passionate about her work, she believes that improving one’s image even in a small way can work miracles for one’s character and self confidence. You can read about her services here

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