Office ‘etiquette’ guide advises against eating smelly foods in workspaces

A new office ‘snackiquette’ guide has been launched – which suggests smoked mackerel, boiled eggs and noisy crisps should never be eaten near colleagues.

Etiquette expert and star of ‘Help I Sexted my Boss’ podcast, William Hanson, advises to avoid tucking into anything with a strong odour such as eggs or fish so we don’t annoy those sitting near us.

Slurping on a straw is also bad for office harmony.

Meanwhile, he says pears, soft sweets and yoghurts are the perfect work snacks – and oranges and apples are also seen as “no-no’s”.

The guide’s launch follows research which found fresh fruit, yoghurts, chocolate, and biscuits were seen as acceptable office snacks, according to employees.

A study of 2,000 office workers, commissioned by Yoplait, revealed 65 per cent find the smell of foods most annoying in the office, while 43 per cent are irritated by the sound of chewing.

Nutritionist, Dr Frankie Phillips, said: “More than half (53 per cent) of those in the survey admitted that their snack choices aren’t as healthy as they’d like to be, while 58 per cent of workers also opt for snacks to boost their energy levels.

“Switching to yoghurt would be a healthier choice as well as scoring a 10 on office etiquette.”

It also emerged smoked mackerel and boiled eggs were the most offensive foods to snack on, followed by egg sandwiches, curry and kebabs.

The most annoying or rude things a colleague can do is steal someone’s food (63 per cent), bring in smelly food (61 per cent) and not wash up after themselves (59 per cent).

It also emerged 24 per cent are irritated when someone snacks next to them and doesn’t offer them anything.

And almost a quarter (24 per cent) have even experienced others eating their snacks without their permission.

However, 81 per cent snack in the office and 15 per cent frequently choose to eat snacks with high potential to offend their colleagues.

While almost half (42 per cent) have been told by a colleague they’re being annoying with their snack choice.

More than seven in 10 (72 per cent) of those polled via OnePoll said a snack is something they tend to look forward to, to brighten up their working day.

The ‘snackiquette’ guide, created by Yoplait Skyr in collaboration with William Hanson, provides detailed insight into some dos and don’ts to avoid irritating others, including eating nothing bigger than your thumbnail when in a meeting.

Eight in 10 reckon eating on a work call is completely unacceptable, which aligns with William’s thoughts as he recommends eating nothing bigger than a breath mint when connecting digitally or in the office.

William Hanson added: “There are plenty of dos and don’ts when it comes to workplace snacking that many will not have thought of, so it is well worth familiarising with the ‘snackiquette’ guide before chomping in the office or at home again anytime soon.

“For all you know, you could be irritating some of your closest colleagues or even your partner, but they just don’t have the heart to tell you.”

Key office ‘snackiquette’ rules:

– Avoid anything noisy or smelly due to the open-plan nature of most offices today.

– Dine away from your desk where possible.

– If a snack is larger than your fist then you shouldn’t eat it at your desk.

– When eating at your desk, opt for something like a pear, soft sweets, bars of chocolate, a handful of nuts or a yoghurt.

– A yoghurt is an ideal snack as its soft, semi-liquid nature means it’s both noiseless and odourless but delicious and courteous.

– When eating a yoghurt, remove the lid and place it upturned on your desk. Avoid lifting the yoghurt pot beneath your mouth.

– Snacks like chocolate bars, sweets, mints, and slices of soft fruit can be shared – always offer to those immediately around you before you tuck in and enjoy yourself.

– Any drinks that require a straw may annoy your co-working neighbours, so beware. As the drink reaches the end of its life, don’t be tempted to use the straw to suck up those remaining droplets.

– During meetings, in-person or virtual, it is not acceptable to eat anything bigger than your thumbnail. A breath mint is really your culinary limit for such events.

– Some meetings may come with food, laid out to entice people to attend. Be wary of eating any of this unless you can eat, for example, the croissant beautifully and with minimal mess. Your colleagues and clients will always be silently judging your dining skills.

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