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Employer says I am not allowed to heat up my breakfast
999

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.

tiredoftiers · 09/11/2021 16:53

Yabu to microwave raw food in a microwave at work. Microwaves in workplace should be for heating food, not cooking from scratch.

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MrsTophamHat · 09/11/2021 16:53

I find this really strange.
Having worked desk jobs, of course it is possible to eat while working. You can read documents, look at data etc while eating. You can have an informal work based discussion with a close colleague. I don't understand this notion that unless you're actively typing then you're not working.

Op, for your situation if they have no problem with a cold meal; then I expect it's the smell.

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Vroomed · 09/11/2021 16:53

My sister used to heat up cauliflower at lunchtime in the microwave. The smell was pretty bad and she was asked to refrain from doing it. While you may not notice the smell of eggs and beans, others will. I can't think of anything worse than having to inhale the smell of eggs in the morning (apart from cauliflower). I think you should either eat at home or bring a cold breakfast to work.

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RosiePosieDozy · 09/11/2021 16:54

I don't see anything wrong with it. I always eat breakfast at my desk. I usually have a yogurt and fruit. But there are plenty of people in my office who go into the kitchen to prepare cereal and I've seen people with those ready-made porridge pots. A quick five minute break to prepare some breakfast shouldn't be an issue.

If I was you, I would just start eating cold breakfasts. I wouldn't speak about it again. I couldn't be bothered with wasting my breath to detail how I'm taking time out of my lunch break.

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CreepySpider · 09/11/2021 16:54

@ElephantCup

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)

Is the canteen totally separate to the office though so that the smell doesn’t travel? We have a canteen but it’s in the basement so whilst they cook breakfast for us, you can’t smell it at all upstairs at the desks.
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maddy68 · 09/11/2021 16:54

Eat on your designated breaks. You are in the workplace .. be professional

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GreyhoundG1rl · 09/11/2021 16:54

Of course the time taken to cook, eat and clean up is a factor.
Nobody believes you're diligently working whilst horsing into a cooked breakfast.

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Penistoe · 09/11/2021 16:54

If you are working 9-5 just get up 10mins earlier and have breakfast before work. I don’t understand why you are having breakfast at your desk.

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PrincessPaws · 09/11/2021 16:54

It sounds like someone has complained about the smell of the eggs

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gogohm · 09/11/2021 16:55

I would hate the smell myself, both stink. And it's not just the cook time, it's the eating time, you can't eat and simultaneously work. Eating a a biscuit or bit of cake isn't the same

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godmum56 · 09/11/2021 16:55

H and S breaks from VDU work can be doing other non VDU work, they do not have to be "do what you like" breaks.....just sayin'

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FindingMeno · 09/11/2021 16:56

Tbh I can't imagine a supermarket checkout person doing this, or people in multiple other jobs.
You've been asked not to do it. You're on paid time.
Eat before work or wait till a proper break time.
Even children manage that

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Cofifeefee · 09/11/2021 16:56

It's definitely a complaint about the smell but your manager doesn't want to tell you that.

The fact that a cold breakfast is acceptable confirms this.

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ForestDad · 09/11/2021 16:56

Surprised at the voting. Lots of office prima donnas it seems.
Def not YANBU.
Eggs don't really smell of anything, and are a filling meal. Eating a croissant every day isn't too healthy, especially a sweet one.
Maybe you should start heating up some mackerel for lunch to get your protein in.

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SoupDragon · 09/11/2021 16:57

Eggs don't really smell of anything

They smell of egg! 😂

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Pigeoninthehouse · 09/11/2021 16:58

I think if you are doing VDU work then you need to take the actual time away from your computer, sitting and eating a significant meal at your desk and claiming you are working isn't taking a break from your computer.
I used to work with someone that came into work at 7:00am and claim 'early bird superiority' and martydom, but all she was doing was coming in early eating her breakfast, doing her household admin and reading the paper, until starting work at 9:00am.
I don't work in an office anymore, but my experience of these kind of colleagues is at best they are half focussing on a task, ignoring incoming phone calls and getting pissed off when people disturb them and then going on to claim a full lunch break
Neither of the examples would have bothered me that much, but these colleagues were always held up as office heroes for 'working' through their lunch and coming in early ?

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BarbaraofSeville · 09/11/2021 16:59

What's wrong with being able to smell food Confused.

OP, I agree with you and it's difficult to be expected to eat food you don't really want, at a time that doesn't suit you, but you're new to the job, so you have to be careful to not annoy them too much.

I would make my eggs and bread into an egg mayonnaise sandwich and eat that at my desk at a time my choosing. Then you're not breaking the 'no hot food in the morning' rule and you get to eat what you want, when it suits you. They can't argue with that, can they?

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Flowerpower23 · 09/11/2021 16:59

Who the hell makes eggs in the office Confused that is so selfish!! And weird! Just go in early and eat a piece of toast in the kitchen or have a granola bar like the rest of us

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viques · 09/11/2021 16:59

@MintyGreenDream

A toasted teacake or crumpet would be less offensive.

Not a toasted tea cake! They smell heavenly and it lingers irresistably........ you would have the whole office jostling at the toaster all morning, and unfortunately raisins are as we all know, death to toasters.
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Mamamamasaurus · 09/11/2021 17:00

It's the smell.



Besides, eating at your desk is grim. Tomorrow, turn over your keyboard and give it a good shake. Grim.

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Owlmeow · 09/11/2021 17:00

Take a cold breakfast? You'll get the break whilst making your drink still which you say takes the same amount of time, and they've said this is fine.

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user367778853 · 09/11/2021 17:01

You need this employer to be an ex-employer, what a load of rubbish

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BarbaraofSeville · 09/11/2021 17:01

I'm also surprised about all the 'eat before you get to work comments'. I would have thought that, with the popularity of 16:8 type eating patterns, that people would be more used to having breakfast later in the day.

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HundredMilesAnHour · 09/11/2021 17:01

I've worked in plenty of offices that don't allow hot food to be eaten at desks. Because not only are you not working if you're eating food with a knife and fork but you're also distracting the rest of the office with your smelly food. So if you want hot food, you take a break and eat it away from your desk. Your manager has said you can split your break if you insist on having hot food mid-morning so what's the problem? Go take your break and cook and eat your hot food away from your desk so you're not bothering people who are working i.e. have a bit of consideration for your colleagues.

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MissMarplesGoddaughter · 09/11/2021 17:02

@washingmachines4

I think you'll find the underlying issue is with smell - most people don't want to be around a microwaved eggs and beans smell. Cold breakfasts generally don't smell and therefore are more acceptable.

^
This

I used to work with someone who heated up leftover curries / chillies etc. for her lunch and then ate it at her desk. The smell was just vile.
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