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About breakfast at work

(658 Posts)
WishingILivedOnAnIsland Wed 10-Jul-19 09:22:13

Every day without fail one of our senior administrators comes in on time, gets herself settled, then spends 10 minutes in the kitchen constructing a complicated bowlful of breakfast. She takes the bowl to her desk and slowly eats in the open plan office until around 9:30am. She then signals the start of her work day by returning her bowl to the kitchen. Anyone who approaches her regarding work prior to The Bowl’s Return is met with a withering look and an ‘excuse me I am eating my breakfast’ as though they’ve walked into her own kitchen out of hours and demanded a favour.

I’m her manager and I’m starting to get complaints. Both about her commandeering an additional 30 odd minutes break, and also about the tart rebuke she gives anyone who dares interrupt her morning ritual.

Here’s the thing- I don’t really care that she does this as in every other way she is a sensational employee. She is a proud set-in-her-ways kind of person and wont respond well to negative feedback. It would be a disaster if she quit and we had to replace her with a mediocre employee whose only advantage is that they eat their breakfast at home.

So AIBU to let this breakfast nonsense play on? My colleagues seem to think so and are salty with me for my inaction thus far.

SylviaAndSidney Wed 10-Jul-19 09:26:03

I'd be mighty pissed off if I was her colleague. 30 minutes indeed, what if everyone downed tools waiting until she finished? And 30 minutes is also a ridiculously long time to be eating a bowl of cereal.

OddHoleySocks Wed 10-Jul-19 09:26:27

As long as you are happy if everyone else starts doing the same thing, it's fine.

MyOpinionIsValid Wed 10-Jul-19 09:26:42

You're the manager - tell her what her core working hours are, and tell her to eat before 9am - or introduce a no eating at desk policy.

Im going to be snippy, I cant stand managers who cant actually manage, they leave disaffected staff in their wake.

Mrstwiddle Wed 10-Jul-19 09:26:45

That would infuriate me as a colleague, especially if eating her breakfast involves the spoon hitting the bowl over and over again...I used to work with someone who spent a similar amount of time eating her breakfast very noisily, it’s a miracle she’s still alive ;)

Sirzy Wed 10-Jul-19 09:28:12

So is it ok for every other staff member to take an extra half hour when they fancy it?

You can’t have one rule for one and another for everyone else.

ShatnersWig Wed 10-Jul-19 09:29:10

You're a poor manager.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 10-Jul-19 09:30:50

I used to eat breakfast at work - loads of us did. Probably a 50/50 split in the office. I can't eat before 8am. Difference being that I worked whilst eating, and if breakfast went mushy/cold, that was the risk I was taking. She needs to do the same. If she eats at work, she works too. If she wants a slow breakfast to wake up with no interruptions, she does that at home.

QuestionableMouse Wed 10-Jul-19 09:30:57

30 min lunch rather than an hour. Make it clear to everyone.

She is taking the piss!

edgeofheaven Wed 10-Jul-19 09:31:29

It would be a disaster if she quit and we had to replace her with a mediocre employee whose only advantage is that they eat their breakfast at home.

Seems extremely unlikely that she would quit over a conversation about her breakfast habits as what is the chance she'll find another job that will allow her a 30 minute break at the start of the day?

Tell her that her colleagues expect that if she's sat at her desk during working hours, then she's available to work. If she needs time to eat breakfast first can she come in a bit earlier? Because otherwise the rest of the team can't start their day at 9 as they're waiting on her for some items.

Geminijes Wed 10-Jul-19 09:31:51

So just because she's a good worker you, as her manager, are willing to give her an extra 30 mins break per day?

You really can't see why her colleagues are complaining about your lack of action towards her?

If you can't or don't want to mange then change jobs as you're not being fair to everyone only to some.

CassianAndor Wed 10-Jul-19 09:31:56

so is she meant to start at 9?

I understand your reluctance as she is otherwise a good worker but you can't allow one person half an hour our of their working day that no-one else has.

I would just say that you're happy for her to have breakfast at her desk (lots of places don't like that) but that she has to be ready to start work and deal with colleagues at 9.

I doubt she'd leave over that, the job market's hardly buoyant. And you need to consider the department as a whole and the resentment this is fostering.

GreyhoundzRool Wed 10-Jul-19 09:33:30

Your job isn’t just to keep this one “excellent “ member of staff happy, it’s to keep all of your staff happy. If you are getting complaints you need to act. You say you don’t want to lose this staff member, but would you be happy for everyone else to quit and then you have to spend time/money recruiting for their roles ? Ok unlikely they will all quit but you could lose a few which will be expensive and cause even more resentment.

Step up and manage - dealing with difficult situations and having difficult conversations is part of your job.

DoneLikeAKipper Wed 10-Jul-19 09:33:46

Is this a serious post? Of course you need to bloody tell her to stop using her work hours to have a leisurely breakfast! I wouldn’t accept that sort of attitude from my family in the mornings (the cuntish ‘don’t talk to me until I’ve drank my coffee’ type), never mind an employee who’s paid to be work-ready the moment they sit at their desk. Manage your staff properly for goodness sake.

ScreamingValenta Wed 10-Jul-19 09:34:26

I think you need to speak frankly with her and explain that it is causing resentment, and offer options to address it - could she adjust her start and finish times to be 30 minutes later, or could she take 30 minutes from her lunch break?

Do make sure you are on safe ground, though. If some of those complaining take breaks themselves - e.g. a smoking break - and this woman doesn't, she might argue that her 30 minutes in the morning is equivalent to other people's short breaks throughout the day. If that's the case you'll need to consider your stance on unofficial breaks as a whole.

mrsbyers Wed 10-Jul-19 09:35:02

Start asking her to do stuff for you at 9 , if she gives attitude then take her to one side and explain she has started work and while it's fine to eat breakfast it has to be while she is working. If this is an issue suggest she starts half an hour earlier

DoneLikeAKipper Wed 10-Jul-19 09:35:30

My colleagues seem to think so and are salty with me for my inaction thus far.

Re-reading this I suspect it’s a reverse. Managers surely don’t actually talk like this, do they?

SilverDapple Wed 10-Jul-19 09:35:33

Sounds as though her colleagues' complaints are quite justified, and being afraid of her reaction to feedback really isn't a good reason not to address it with her.

Iliketeaagain Wed 10-Jul-19 09:37:25

Is this a reverse? Because surely no manager would lack a basic level of awareness that you need to keep your whole team happy, not just your favourite?

If it's or a reverse, I hope she's brilliant enough to do everyone else's job when they leave because she's getting 2 1/2 hrs worth of paid break per week when they others are not.

And if she leaves, then best of luck to her - not many places would tolerate coming to work and having a paid break right at the beginning of the day.

VivienneHolt Wed 10-Jul-19 09:38:08

Could you give her a range of options and ask her to pick which one suits her? I.e. If she’s eating breakfast from 9-9.30 she only gets half an hour for lunch, or her working day officially starts at 9.30 but finishes at 5.30, or she comes in at 8.30 and has her breakfast before work.

Either way you can’t let it continue. It’s her job to be a good administrator, and it’s your job to stop her taking the piss and upsetting everyone else in her team.

MatchSetPoint Wed 10-Jul-19 09:39:35

AS long as she’s getting all her work done does it really matter? The workplace seems to be evolving into more a relaxed and flexible atmosphere... maybe she is ahead of her time 😁

MonkeyTrap Wed 10-Jul-19 09:39:46

As long as you are happy if everyone else starts doing the same thing, it's fine.

^ yup!

WatchingFromTheWings Wed 10-Jul-19 09:41:22

She either needs to come in 30 minutes early, have her breakfast, then start at 9, or eat at home.

Otherwise you may find the rest of the staff wanting an extra 30 minute break. You're her manager, I think you need to put a stop to it.

edgeofheaven Wed 10-Jul-19 09:41:29

AS long as she’s getting all her work done does it really matter?

To me half of the issue is her giving an attitude to colleagues who speak to her during breakfast. So even if she's getting her work done, she's making others feel uncomfortable for no good reason. That needs to be addressed just as much as working out the timing of breakfast.

monielove Wed 10-Jul-19 09:44:36

It's a tough one. I once asked someone to stop taking 30 min breakfast breaks and was informed that another colleague called the nanny 3 times a day for 5-10 mins, another was constantly responding to Air BnB bookings in her side business, and one man took a 30 minute shit every morning at 10.30am. I would monitor other colleagues productivity before saying anything then maybe refresh the 'rules' with everyone rather than target her.

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