Employer says I am not allowed to heat up my breakfast
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.
Am I being unreasonable?AIBU
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blyn72 · 27/01/2022 05:11
I think your management are being mean. Unless you are heating up something smelly, you are doing no harm. I always had my breakfast at work, couldn't have faced anything when I had just got up.
However, it might be easier to have something cold from now.
Flickflak · 27/01/2022 05:21
Message from MNHQ: This post has been withdrawn
stayathomer · 27/01/2022 05:44
I find this thread so strange, some of you seem to be working in a restaurant environment! It just reeks of being unprofessional. The understanding in all office environments I've ever been in is that if you have anything at your desk it's something small, discreet and it doesn't impact your work or other people. Op the example of getting time away from your desk is totally different to heading off yo make a meal, you go to stretch your legs. Yes sometimes you get into a conversation with a colleague or something but your colleagues are taking the you know what if they leave their desk for that amount of time. A tea break is a tea break, lunch is for lunch. I would have thought most of the working population had a substantial breakfast before leaving the house. And really sorry but anyone who brings in foods with strong smells for work should be spoken to. I had a colleague who cooked Indian food at lunchtime and I'd sit there gagging daily. Another brought in fish. People should be thinking about other people!!
echt · 27/01/2022 06:05
The understanding in all office environments I've ever been in is that if you have anything at your desk it's something small, discreet and it doesn't impact your work or other people
Everyone who does this always thinks they are reasonable, that it doesn't impact on their work or other people.
ThumbWitchesAbroad · 27/01/2022 06:18
OK, this isn't quite a zombie but it was decently interred!
CoconutQueen · 27/01/2022 06:35
Very weird and extreme eating beans or eggs on toast at your desk mid morning. And you are not on a break. No one else does it. YABU. No excuse that you can't eat first thing; lots of people can't. Get up earlier like other people do so you can eat before work.
hugr · 27/01/2022 06:47
The understanding in all office environments I've ever been in is that if you have anything at your desk it's something small, discreet and it doesn't impact your work or other people.
But this happened where you work?
I had a colleague who cooked Indian food at lunchtime and I'd sit there gagging daily. Another brought in fish
Darbs76 · 27/01/2022 06:48
We have people heat up porridge etc and we don’t say anything but I can understand why people have said something. Why not just knock 5 mins off your lunch break, or have 10 mins and eat it in the kitchen as a proper break and less lunch. We wouldn’t pull people up on it but might I guess if someone raised an objection. Either that or take a cereal bar or something in for breakfast
RachelGreeneGreep · 27/01/2022 07:12
FateHasRedesignedMost · 27/01/2022 07:13
It’s the smell of hot eggs or beans in the morning, nobody wants that in their office
WidgetyWoo · 27/01/2022 07:28
I’ve worked in offices where people snack throughout the day at their desks, but a bowl of cereal or a sandwich type of snack. I’d think it was weird if someone started cooking things in the microwave - that is lunchtime behaviour and I think that is why your behaviour stands out and has been commented on. It’s also why working at home is great though. Could you find a remote job?
Jobseeker19 · 27/01/2022 07:49
9-5 isn't that long a day
I've worked in nurseries where the shift is 8.30-6.30 with 1hour lunch break and could only eat during my lunch break. No tea or coffee allowed during the day only water.
I couldn't turn up for work and ignore the children to eat breakfast.
I have my breakfast at home or on the way to work.
BuanoKubiamVej · 27/01/2022 07:51
Hot breakfasts in a communal office are antisocial as they make everyone else hungry when their own plans for how to spend their time/money or calorie budget get disrupted by getting that mid morning when they would have been fine to crack on through till lunch otherwise.
Just because no one has complained before doesn't mean no one minded, but they didn't feel able to stand up to you before for whatever reason. It takes energy and effort to complain and lots of people just suck up the irritations of life for the sake of peace and quiet, so for each complainer there are usually a dozen or so who wholeheartedly agree with the complainant.
heelforheelandtoefortoe · 27/01/2022 07:58
My work had rules like this too. No one wants to see, hear or smell you having something to eat at that time. Eggs reek the place out. I had a colleague who would eat fish, it was awful.
I work permanently from home now :)
Lalliella · 27/01/2022 08:17
It probably still smells better than OP’s breakfast though!
Lalliella · 27/01/2022 08:18
@KittyKatty123 what was the outcome?
coodawoodashooda · 27/01/2022 08:23
Ive never,ever seen anyone at work have more than a bowl of cereal or a yoghurt.
Yabu and cheeky.
Yeah. Unbelievably so.
Goldie2021 · 27/01/2022 08:23
Take boiled eggs and peel them at work….They might prefer your microwaved eggs then 😂
Shehasadiamondinthesky · 27/01/2022 08:29
I'll never forget the day a colleague heated fish curry in the microwave. Carried it through minor injuries to our clinic and ate it in there. There is no break room. The place stunk for days. We are only allowed to eat cold lunches now as a result of that incident.
ParkingDiagram · 27/01/2022 08:35
Here we go again. The fact that this thread has over 900 posts on might make some people realise it’s not a new discussion but here we are.
NigellaLawdaughter · 27/01/2022 08:41
Fortunately only 20-something posts to go,
and then it can never be resurrected again!
SmallChange11 · 27/01/2022 08:42
@Hawkins001 now look what you've done 🤣
ThumbWitchesAbroad · 27/01/2022 08:45
@NigellaLawdaughter - a very good point!
QuestionsorComments · 27/01/2022 08:48
It doesn't take 2 minutes to leave you desk, get your food, cook it, take it back to your desk and eat it. It must be at least 15.
If you're otherwise hardworking and contentious I'd probably have no issue with it, although it would depend a bit on the reaction of the rest of the staff, but don't kid yourself it's only 2 mins or try to use that as a justification.
Also, eating at your desk, whilst common, is pretty unpleasant, especially hot smelly food
ElftonWednesday · 27/01/2022 08:53
Employers can impose whatever rules they want, but I'm glad I've only worked in places where they only care whether you get the work done and not what time you eat something or take a break. I would hate it.
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