- Communicate your whereabouts. When you plan to leave the office for lunch, let your co-workers know how long you'll be gone — especially those who report to you. Leave a note on your desk or update your IM status to keep your officemates in the loop.
- Steer clear of cliques. Lunch dates are a great way to build friendly relationships with your co-workers, but don't be exclusive with the invites. Try to include different people — even those in other departments — to avoid playing favorites. Even better? Ask the new girl to join to help her feel welcome.
- Stick to nearby neighborhoods. There's no need to travel across town for your midday meal, so stay close to your office when you decide to dine out. Tired of eating the same foods each week? Take the time to do some research and make a list of nearby places you'd like to try, then ask your co-workers to contribute their favorites.
- Keep your eyes on the clock. Just because it's called a lunch hour doesn't mean you should take a full 60 minutes to finish your meal. Check your watch frequently to stay on schedule, or set an alarm to let you know when it's time to head back to the office.
- Not everyone shares the same taste. Some of the most delicious foods can have less-than-appealing smells, so be conscientious and save the strong-scented dishes for dinnertime. You'll avoid upsetting your co-workers and keep your breath conversation-ready.
- Use your usual manners. It's important that your midday meals don't distract your office-mates, so stick to the table etiquette you learned as a child. Don't slurp, don't chew with your mouth open, and keep things neat to avoid spilling on your work or keyboard.
- Bring your own silverware. Even if your office keeps a stash of plastic silverware in the kitchen, bring your own to avoid unnecessary waste. Stay eco-friendly by packing washable silverware with your lunch.
- Eat and move on. Try not to linger with your lunch. You don't need to rush your meal, but it shouldn't be an all-afternoon affair, either. Allow yourself a reasonable amount of time to eat, then clear your desk and get back to work.
- Respect the refrigerator real estate. You're one of several employees, so there's no need to take up an entire shelf with your favorite foods. Remember to clean up after yourself and regularly remove your leftovers from the office fridge. Follow the standard waste processes, too, and recycle when appropriate.
Is there anything we can't learn from the staff of Dunder-Mifflin? By watching their crazy and hilarious antics, we have learned critical lessons about in-office relationships, holiday gifting, party no-nos, and etiquette. And now this team of moderately enthusiastic, averagely achieving employees keep giving and giving; here's a list of work excuses they've used in seasons past (to be used at your discretion!).
To avoid a work-related phone call:
- Civil rights rally
- Stopping a fight in the parking lot
- An Obama fashion show
- Trapped in an oil painting
- all courtesy of Michael Scott
To avoid a work lunch (especially at Benihana):
- "I'm not feeling so well. I've got a ton of work to do here. MSG allergy. Peanut allergy. I just ate there last night . . . doctor appointment, car trouble, plantar warts, granddad fought in World War II." - Ryan
To avoid office humiliation from falling into a koi pond:
- "Well Jim and I got caught in a little flash . . . rain. Flash winds. Flash lightening." - Michael
To avoid or leave an office engagement early:
- "You'll never guess. I just got a message from my landlord. Apparently my apartment flooded. Something with the sprinklers." - Jim
- "Oh, we wanted to, but our sitter just fell through." - Pam
- "Uh, no, thank you. Last time I went to the theater, a man dressed as a cat sat on my lap." - Dwight
While I would never use a colonoscopy as an excuse, an absent babysitter sounds solid . . . assuming you have children, of course. So tell me, would you use any of these excuses or have any you'd like to share?
I happen to sit right next to the kitchen at my office. While this has plenty of perks (I can easily refill my water bottle all day) it also has its downfalls. The biggest of which is the wide variety of stenches that come wafting towards me each afternoon around lunchtime. One of the girls I work with has an extremely sensitive stomach when it comes to odd smells (she swears she's not pregnant) and is always feeling nauseous due to people's stinky lunches. I'm all for packing a lunch and bringing it to work - it's healthier and cheaper (according to geeksugar you can save $5000 a year if you make your lunch... think about it: you could go on several luxurious vacations or buy 2.5 Chanel handbags!), but when you decide what to pack keep in mind the presence and noses of your coworkers. Foods with heavy smells such as curried fish with asparagus or spicy unusual dishes are NOT OKAY as they will fill the office with an unpleasant smell for the rest of the day.
Sandwiches, salad, soups, and foods that have relatively little to no smell are acceptable and encouraged. If the kitchen in your office has a door (mine doesn't) this does not automatically mean you are free to bring super fragrant food. Remember that your coworkers will be eating in that kitchen and you should be respectful. The last thing you want is people at the office calling you Stinky Food Girl behind your back. So do yourself and your colleagues a favor, don't bring smelly food to work.