Are you so busy that you do not have enough time to get out of the office and eat lunch? Do you have so many pending loads that you have to work overtime just to finish everything? If yes, then you probably experienced eating al desko.
Al desko means to eat at one’s office desk, and most often this is a descriptive term for overworked office employees. It is an adaptation of the French word al fresco, which means “in open air.”
For many Pinoys, however, eating al desko is not just about being an overworked employee. It can also imply one of the following:
You hate long cues in restaurants during lunch
You are alone and it is awkward to eat out by yourself
You enjoy eating and sharing food with your friends (an act you can’t comfortably do outside)
You cannot handle the increment weather outside your office
You are short of budget so you opted to bring a baon
Whatever your reasons are for eating at your work station, you should know that there are unspoken rules you to follow. There are some things you must do to not disturb your co-workers. Here are some of them:
Never heat a fish you are going to eat al desko
Heating a fish is like the cardinal sin of eating inside the office. Heated fish creates a pungent smell that even those with clogged nose will not appreciate. We don’t discourage you to eat fish — especially if you want your iron and omega 3 — but please, never place them inside the microwave.
Choose your al desko food wisely
Planning to eat bagoong or paksiw on your desk? Do you hope to flavor your bland sinigang with patis? Think again. These foods’ odor, just like the fish, will linger inside your office no matter how much you fan it out. You don’t want people shouting at you, right?
Clean the microwave after use
Instant noodles are great for employees who are short of budget. You can simply put the noodles in a microwavable container, add water and boil it in the microwave. But the water can spill, so be sure to clean the mess afterwards. Remember, other people are using the appliance as well.
Invite your officemates to eat with you
Filipino’s love to say “kain tayo” when they are about to eat, no matter how humble their food is. There is nothing absurd about it. Sharing food actually helps office workers to build rapport and friendship. This tip is pretty helpful to new employees who doesn’t know anyone in their new office.
Mind your own food
Sure, your friends might offer food, but that does’t mean you can get half of it. Just take a bite to taste it. As a rule, avoid taking their food unless they offered it. Their’s might only be enough to satisfy their hunger. Also, never forget to say thank you.
Munch your food quietly
Crunchy foods — lumpiang shanghai, fried chicken and more — are favorite Filipino dishes. If you plan to eat them al desko, we suggest you revert from biting them loudly, like you are deliberately attracting attention. Note that the noise can disturb other employees who aren’t eating yet.
Don’t talk when your mouth is full
This is a common courtesy, but we can’t just leave it out from this list. When you eat while talking, you can unknowingly drop grains of rice or bits of meat on your workstation, which can attract pests. Yes, Filipinos love chatting while eating, but please swallow your food first before talking.
You don’t have to eat fast
You may be busy, but you don’t have to eat your food fast. You might end up having indigestion if you do that. Chew your food properly just like when you are eating outside of the office. You still have an hour to finish your food.
Be careful with your drink
Cover your drinks properly or it may accidentally drip on your table. Remember damaging office properties (e.g computers) is a high class offense.
Clean your desk properly
Observe cleanliness at all times. No one wants to get back to work with sticky keyboard and crumbs on desks. If possible, use alcohol to avoid attracting pests into your work area.
There’s nothing wrong with eating your food at your work station because not everyone has the time and resources to eat out every day. Remember, you are not paid during this hour, and it is your free time, so take a short walk away from the keyboard and have a break. This can help you get back to work with more efficiency
Follow the rules above, so you don’t attract unwanted enemies in your office — and pests too.