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Employer says I am not allowed to heat up my breakfast
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KittyKatty123 · 09/11/2021 16:21

I work full time, 9-5, computer facing all day, work that requires a lot of concentration. I understand the important of taking regular breaks to get away from the screen but don't take the mickey with this. I can't eat first thing in the morning so I have always eaten mid-morning, at my desk, sometimes something cold, sometimes something that needs a minute or two in the staff microwave.

Past employers have never had an issue with this.

I'm fairly new to this job but in the past two months that others have observed me doing this, including my line manager, no-one has ever raised it as an issue. We have access to a microwave and toaster so sometimes I'll bring in a tub of beans, or eggs that I've already put in a bowl and whisked at home so it takes 2 minutes in the microwave to heat them, sometimes I'll do some toast at the same time. All during the space of time it takes me to make my first cup of tea of the day - which is taken after having already put in 1-2 hours work since I got in that morning.

All of a sudden my line manager took me aside and said "it had been noticed" that I was heating up my breakfast and that I was no longer to do this as it was in work time, that the microwave and toaster were only for lunch breaks, unless I decided to split my break over both. This seems ridiculous to me as it takes max 5 minutes and I then bring it back to eat at my desk whilst working. I have seen colleagues gone for much much longer than this if they get into social conversation with colleagues.

Also, this instruction was directed only to me, not as a general "heads up" to the team or department as a whole, so it very personal.

In my mind, from an occupational health point of view, it is very important to take regular breaks throughout the day from VDU work, to make tea, go to the loo, chat with a colleague etc, so why is heating up food whilst making my tea any different.

Am I being unreasonable here? Do others do this at work with no issue? As I said, past employers have never had issue with it and I don't take the piss with it. Thank you.

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

LethargicActress · 09/11/2021 16:38

Really, if you're not taking the piss I don't see why it would be a problem. I imagine smokers take up much longer out of their day to have smoke breaks.

I never understand why people say this! Do you really think that those of us who smoke are given extra breaks to go out for a fag?

We aren’t in the 80’s anymore, smokers just smoke when they get their allocated break time the same as everyone else.

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Chippymunks · 09/11/2021 16:38

Could you make a bacon sandwich at home and take it in and eat it at your desk?

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lastqueenofscotland · 09/11/2021 16:39

I imagine it’s smell -microwaved eggs absolutely honk, a croissant does not.

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Keladrythesaviour · 09/11/2021 16:39

@SliceOfCakeCupOfTea

I used to have a colleague who did this and it pissed me off to no end.
While she was stirring up her porridge and blowing it to cool it down, she couldnt properly perform tasks. She could only type with one hand, often couldn't answer the phone as she was chewing. It would take her longer to so a simple email or input some data while she was eating than it would normally, and while this was only for 10-15 minutes per day, it was every day and very annoying.

Also microwave eggs stink.

You're annoyed because your colleague isn't working fast enough whilst typing one handed? Jeez. If a member of staff complained to me about a colleague for this I'd tell them to wind their neck in and focus on doing their own work as they're probably slowing down whilst watching their colleague.
People are human beings, not robots.

OP if they've given you the option of splitting your break I'd definitely say that I'd take 10mi utes for breakfast and 20/50 for lunch (whatever your allocation is) or stock to something cold if you want a solid lunch break.
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Yogaandcocoa · 09/11/2021 16:40

@VanillaSpiceCandle

I think it’s probably the perception of it taking ages to cook/eat/wash up and generally faff around plus the smell which someone’s objected to. In addition I bet it’s because you’re new and it does look a bit like taking the piss when you’ve not been there long. Please don’t be the person who microwaves eggs. Just have something cold instead and eat it before you start.

I agree with this OP

It's probably true that other people take more time out for tea breaks etc those are generally accepted whereas making a cooked breakfast does seem like taking the piss!

Eggs must stink out the kitchen and office too.
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Wagglerock · 09/11/2021 16:40

Do you also have microwaved fish for lunch?

It's smelly and it's a smell that lingers in the office and the microwave. I'd be complaining too.🤢

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Starcaller · 09/11/2021 16:40

I still can't work out of their issue is the time taken or the hot food aspect though. If you just went to make a cup of tea would that be okay? Every office job I've worked, you could just get up and go make a tea, go to the loo, etc. whenever. A few mins heating food up would fall in that category. If they just don't want you having hot food at your desk then why not just say that?

This reminds me of when a guy in our office was going through a 'bulking' phase and was bringing in steak dinners that he would have at 9am. One of the girls in the office was fuming about it but he just kept saying he needed to have X amount of calories in a day Grin I was just amazed he could put away steak, potatoes and veg at 9am! He brought in like 5 Tupperwares of meals a day. Must have cost a fortune in meat .

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Viviennemary · 09/11/2021 16:41

I agree with your manager. Its cheeky and I wouldn't allow you to cook your breakfast at work either. Bad enough folk cooking at lunchtime never mind breakfast time. Takd a cereal bar.

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 09/11/2021 16:42

Nah, this is annoying. Cereal, pastry, cereal bar all fine. But not faffing with a microwave in your own time. Breaks are important but not really to be used for cooking.

I could just about live with toast. Not the rest.

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MushMonster · 09/11/2021 16:43

Because it is specifically hot what is mentioned, I think it is the smell.
So you are either making your colleagues hungry too early, or nauseous if they just had a full breakfast themselves or hate beans and so on.
I would have breakfast at home. You do 9 to 5, so getting to work already full of beans is a reasonable request.

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BlameItOnTheBlackStar · 09/11/2021 16:44

@LethargicActress

Really, if you're not taking the piss I don't see why it would be a problem. I imagine smokers take up much longer out of their day to have smoke breaks.

I never understand why people say this! Do you really think that those of us who smoke are given extra breaks to go out for a fag?

We aren’t in the 80’s anymore, smokers just smoke when they get their allocated break time the same as everyone else.

I started smoking in the 90s purely because all the smokers got 5 minutes every hour to have a fag break Grin
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girlmom21 · 09/11/2021 16:47

I don't think the food is the issue. It's perception. Someone's complained that you're taking the mick with the amount of time you're away from your desk.

They watch you more closely when you're new so it doesn't matter if others are worse. You can't say "oh well so and so is away from their desk for longer".

Just toe the line.

I guarantee once you're fully embedded nobody will care.

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elbea · 09/11/2021 16:47

Whatever the situation, YABVU to microwave eggs in an office…

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KittenCatcher · 09/11/2021 16:47

Fag breaks on top of allocated breaks were certainly commonplace in my last job, it pissed of all the non smokers off but as the manager and deputy smoked there was nothing we could do. It was an absolute piss take.

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sasparilla1 · 09/11/2021 16:47

It's the eggs and the toast. Quite frankly, they smell! And either there's been a complaint or your boss doesn't like it.

I brought in a bagel for my breakfast today and toasted it. And I could smell it at least an hour later if I went into the factory and then back into the office. But them I'm the boss.....

I think you need to be bringing in something cold and inoffensive. Overnight oats, cereal or muesli, fruit and yogurt with muesli or oats. Or just split your break.

Incidentally, there is literally no way that you can work as fast whilst eating. I eat breakfast and lunch in the office every day, whilst working.

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Clymene · 09/11/2021 16:48

There is no way I could stand sitting near you while you eat scrambled eggs and baked beans. It would make me heave.

Also you can't eat either of those while doing anything other than reading. They're knife and fork meals.

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BurntTheFuckOut · 09/11/2021 16:48

The smell of microwaved eggs makes me fucking heave

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ElephantCup · 09/11/2021 16:49

Not a problem where I work, we often disappear to the canteen to buy something or heat something up that we’ve bought in. I work for a very large well know company with about 1000 other people in the head office building (non Covid times)

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Grida · 09/11/2021 16:49

It’s the eggs. Someone will have complained about the smell. Presumably heating up the food takes as long as making a cup of tea, so it is the smell not the time.

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viques · 09/11/2021 16:50

I wonder how long this breakfast actuallly takes. You don’t seems sure yourself.

First it was “a minute or two”

Then “two minutes”

Then “a max five minutes”

Then you have to eat the food ( however long that takes) and then I assume, and hope, clean up the plate/ bowl/ spoon/fork / Tupperware you have used before getting back to your work.

Sounds quite a lot longer, and smellier than making a cup of tea.

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Bagelsandbrie · 09/11/2021 16:50

It will be the smell.

But all offices are different about stuff like this. Where my dh works (in senior administration in occupational health) they aren’t allowed to eat anything at their desks- at all!

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MintyGreenDream · 09/11/2021 16:50

A toasted teacake or crumpet would be less offensive.

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Perching · 09/11/2021 16:52

Hot food/food smells in an office environment is really not ok.
Make yourself a breakfast smoothie at home and have that mid-morning.

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NotMyCat · 09/11/2021 16:52

Does anyone else eat breakfast or at their desk? If nobody else is then you can't really start doing it

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Myusernameisnotmyusernameno · 09/11/2021 16:52

I used to work somewhere where we used to eat breakfast at our desks. Then this manager started who said we weren't allowed to eat breakfast at our desk at all and had to eat either before work or at break time and this was hot or cold food. In this job a guy used to go to the restaurant to get breakfast most mornings and eat at his desk which I thought very unfair as others couldn't do it. And it used to stink. I think it's the smell in your case

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