Just Put Down the Brown Bag and Slowly Step Away From the Lunch

brown_bag_lunch_thumbEmployees in cubicles across the U.S. take lunch very seriously.  Especially when it’s their lunch.  And especially when their lunch is swiped from the fridge in the lunchroom.  Nearly 98% of employees surveyed said that eating someone else’s food from the office fridge was unacceptable.


When asked what was the most offensive breach of office etiquette, respondents were nearly unanimous in their agreement.  The “fridge raid” took the first-place prize for the Number 1 worst office behavior. 

Taking second place at 96% is bad hygiene.   And a variety of bad-manner conduct made up the rest of the most cited offenses.  The bad habits that are most likely to get you fired include:

  1. Drinking on the job;
  2. Wastefulness with paper;
  3. Swearing in the office;
  4. Cooking smelly food in the office microwave; and
  5. Using Blackberry devices at meetings.

I was surprised to see #2, wasting paper, on the list.  I wouldn’t have guessed that coworkers paid that much attention to others’ paper usage.  But I think it’s a positive sign.  Yes, really.   I’d dare to say that the fact that wastefulness with paper appears on this list is actually a strong indication of engaged employees.

What’s the connection?

Wasting paper is wasting company resources.  If employees are getting angry with their coworkers who waste company resources, it seems to me that they are invested in the company’s fiscal health. Conversely, when employees flip over to the dark side and become disengaged and bitter, there’s almost a satisfaction in wasting company resources.  It’s a silent, albeit relatively small, way to “get back” at their employer.  So take it as a positive sign if employees take offense when others engage in miniature assaults against the organization.