When the office lunch pong drives you to distraction: OPINION

Are you are sick of a colleague’s smelly lunchbox or feel pushed to the brink by their pungent sandwiches?

Monday, 15th July 2019, 4:12 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 5:17 pm
Blaise Tapp looks at how colleagues' lunches make the office smell

You are not alone as the eating habits of colleagues have long been one of the most common flashpoints in offices. A recent survey found at least a quarter of us spend our lunch breaks at our desks.

Scoffing at one’s workstation is not new – I have been doing it since the days when the majority of homemade butties consisted of luncheon meat as opposed to exotic options enjoyed by millions of workers every day.

Most offices now have a microwave and communal fridge or at the very least a communal dining area. And because of Nigella and Jamie Oliver, workplaces are full of people who think nothing of knocking up a lobster gumbo or chorizo and aubergine frittata the night before.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It would be alright if people ate their lunches cold but the trouble is they heat them up, which is not great news for those subjected to the stench.

A former colleague would reheat his take on vegetable madras every single day of the week. Needless to say, this chap was quickly dubbed Curry Man by a hardcore who would loudly tut along to his every mouthful, complaining that folk could probably smell it in Barrow in Furness. 

Lunchtime politics is a tricky one, especially when entering a new environment, something which I have recently done, having started work in brand spanking new offices, which boast a vending machine that you can tap with your debit card (lethal) and a shiny cafe area.

My trouble is that, having spent the past quarter of a century mired in the frontline of regional news, I feel compelled to inhale my sarnies while I rattle out my work.

Although progressive management gently tries to dissuade staff from dining at their desks, there will always be those who choose to consume their carbs this way.

The fact remains that everybody is more productive once they have had a break and we should all really try to end the cycle of endless work at least once a day.

Especially if we have egg mayonnaise rolls for lunch.