I'm working at a startup (8 people, 4 sales/4 tech) in an open office setting. Lunch times always used to be from 12:30 to 1:30. We have a glass box room with a large rectangular table used for meetings and also for lunch.
Some time ago, members of the sales team started to use this space as a place to make their important sales calls, as it is more private and it's the only separate room with a wired internet connection useful for Skype calls.
They've now started occupying the conference/lunch room making group calls to big clients from 11:00 until 15:00 (which varies, and it doesn't happen every day).
- As a developer I like to plan certain tasks for certain times. If I expect to have lunch for 30 minutes at 12:30, then I expect I can let my computer perform automatic tasks during that time. With these uncertain lunch times, I can't schedule my tasks properly.
- If I have lunch at say 12:30 for a few days, my body starts to expect me to fill it with food at that time. If I then can't have lunch around that time, my stomach gets confused and I can't eat properly when the lunch room becomes available.
I feel like there really is an impact on productivity here, and also setting/clearing the table around lunch time takes everybody longer than 'normal' (when there is a defined period in which a space for lunch is available for having your lunch break) in my opinion. Sometimes I stay an hour or 2 longer to perform some tasks because that's the time I know I can work on my own schedule.
What did I do?
In the recent past I've already talked a few times about it with my employer and HR and they acknowledged people in my position could be experiencing inconveniences regarding the scheduling of tasks in respect to when I expect to have my lunch break. It would be communicated to the sales department and separate rooms for conferencing/lunching/programming-in-silence would be built in addition to the existing sales, tech and lunch rooms.
The problem is, nothing happened. People still conference in the same space during 'lunch time', there are no private spaces to sit and I still eat lunch 2 hour later than expected.
It's not about the food (as it is really positive what they conference about) but about structure and productivity. I don't want to go sit somewhere else and eat there by myself as I think it's reasonable to expect a designated space for lunch in which I can sit and eat during designated lunch times.
What would be some ways to deal with this? Am I seeing this thing about productivity the wrong way? What would be some way to approach my employer/HR about improvements that were said to be made but aren't being done?