I would like to clarify my doubts. Is it okay if I eat snacks at my office where there are about 20 people working?

An obvious solution would be to just ask : "would you guys mind me eating my stuff?". However the answer from my colleagues is obvious, I expect them to be polite enough to say nothing and let me eat, so I won't get a real answer.

Some additional information:

  • I don't want to share with everyone in this particular situation, because there would be less left for me, but I won't mind a few of my colleagues ask "let me taste it";
  • I'm asking this question, because I'm new at work (17 y.o. programmer) and I've spent most of my life at the computer eating, so I'm used to chewing something while working.
  • Another reason I'm asking it here is that I don't want to seem strange in my colleagues eyes and feel awkward.
  • 1
  • PLEASE don't be a loud chewer. You will become very very unpopular very quickly.
    – bharal
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 15:23
  • 2
    As an IT professional, please allow me to say, "Crumbs in your keyboard, gross!"
    – Lumberjack
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 15:32
  • I'm in software too, and I eat granola bars and nuts and such at my desk. Just try not to be very loud, as constant, loud rattling of chip bags (for example) can be annoying.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 16:12
  • 2
    Reading this Q & As has made me hungry, so I am now eating at my desk.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


If you're new, take some time to observe and do what other people do, it's generally a good indicator of what's acceptable and what isn't. Of course, long-timers get away with more...

It's not likely that your colleagues will feel awkward if you snack at your desk, and it's not all that likely that they'll ask for some of your snacks every time.

You don't really need to ask, but there may be a company policy or unwritten agreement that people don't snack where they work.

  • 7
    Good answer, but I would also add that there are certain snacks to avoid no matter what (smelly, loud and crunchy, things that will leave your keyboard/mouse/desk a mess, etc)
    – David K
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 13:50
  • Yep. I kind of credited the OP with a certain level of common sense here...
    – user44108
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 13:54
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    Never assume common sense. I have found that it isn't so common.
    – Neo
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:00
  • This a good answer, always watch what your co-workers do. Of course avoid watching at what does the "Higher ranks" as they usually or do whatever they want or have more time on the enterprise and have more freedom to do what they want. Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:04
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    Other snacks to avoid are ones where others will be unwillingly drawn into partaking - peanut M&Ms are practically banned from my current workplace due to several addicted staff
    – HorusKol
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:51

Is it acceptable to eat snacks in an open-planned office?

If you are not able to determine the right course of action using the other suggestions made by Snow's answer, ask your manager to be certain.

If eating at your desk ends up being acceptable in your work place, be sure to avoid eating obnoxious smelling food, and use good table manners.

  • 2
    Should be added too, that you should watch your manners, please avoid being a loud chewer, or speaking with your mouth being full... Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:06
  • Not disagreeing strong enough to down-vote, but any normal (no extenuating circumstances) place where I need to ask my manager if I can eat at my desk is a place I am not going to work at, and will quit if already working there.
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 16:15
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    @Aaron I too eat at my desk for lunch. I work in a cube factory though, not a open office, so no one can see me eating. And I don't bring smelly stuff in.
    – Neo
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 16:17

Snow's excellent answer covers the main aspects of this but one detail that I spotted in the question is

I've spent most of my life at the computer eating, so I'm used to chewing something while working.

Depending upon what you're planning on eating/chewing there can be a big difference in "constantly" vs "occasionally". If your chosen snack is something that creates noise when being eaten then people might not bat an eyelid at it for 30 mins or so during the day but constantly can get into "making your co-workers homicidal" territory.

I once worked with a junior developer who munched on raw carrot sticks all day, every day and it drove me mad! Had it been just for a short period of time I could have ignored it but 7 hours a day of "crunch...crunch...crunch...crunch" and I could have cheerfully strangled him.

While on the subject of what you're eating it's a good idea to generally avoid anything that has an impact on others - noise, smell etc.

  • Nice point, but i didn't mean constantly chewing, but rather i've mostly eaten at my computer, when eat at home. Snack are usually something that I take once a few minutes
    – fixerlt
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 14:56

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