I am a financial accountant and I have a team of 4 which report to me.

I have noticed from the 3 staff members that they would work and eat at their desks. My understanding to do this means you don't have time to actually go out for a break, however they still go out for an hour's break. I have also noticed from some that when they are working and eating, they aren't 100% productive; occasionally some tend to go on the Internet and some are actually working and eating.

Personally I don't like the fact they they are taking 30-45 minutes to eat and work at their desk and still going out for a 1 hour break. I feel they having an extended break.

How can I put a stop to this? Is there anything under the workplace agreement where it stipulates, "when you have a break it's for an hour and that's it"?

  • 4
    you dont like? Does it affect the work? Thats the question you should work on.
    – Thorst
    Jul 13, 2016 at 5:51
  • 4
    I am am so glad I don't work for you. Do they breath - does that take away from productivity? Are they fit and chose to exercise for break. I see them eat at their desk and therefor they are not productive is sooo narrow minded.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:06
  • 1
    If you can you should just make a rule of no eating in the office space except for small snacks like dried fruits or candy. Go to the break area for that.
    – Brandin
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:12
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    @Brandin: Yes, Actually, that is exactly the rule at workplaces I know.
    – sleske
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:36
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    This is way too legally complex to answer without specifying so much as a country or state. Ask HR or your manager how breaks are handled if you suspect they're being abused.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 13, 2016 at 7:56

5 Answers 5


Why do you want them to get rid of it? Are they not hitting performance goals? Or is it just because you percieve it to be more "fair" that way?

I'd advise against antagonizing your employees (thats what changing their lunch habits for no real reason will do) for no reason other then your personal sense of fairness.

Also, if they're working and eating, they're still working, right?

Do you want to prohibit them from eating at their desk? If so, why?

How can I put this to a stop and is there anything under the The Workplace agreement where it stipulates, when you have a break its for an hour and thats it.

You could tell them to stop it. They could stop it or refuse to. Depending on the laws of your country, you can discipline for not stopping it. Thats about it. Further, we have no idea of what their contracts look like, or where you're from, so thats something you'll have to bring up with HR in your company (if they have one) or possibly a lawyer (if you have to dig into the contracts).

But again, only that you "feel" like they're taking an extended break in and of itself isn't a good reason to demoralize and antagonize your employees. If you do something, please only if its actually affecting their performance.


They have agreed to work a specific number of hours per day. How they achieve that is not your business. If they want to be productive while eating and do something else while taking the actual break, rather than the other way around, then unless productivity is clearly suffering I see no reason to discourage thus.

In other works, you need a stronger reason to object than "it isn't what I would do."


One way its very sensitive point. My view is as below.

  • As long as they are achieving their targets in the work, we should not question about their time management. But still you can advise them not to take lunch while working not in terms of productivity, but in other terms like ... "Hey, when you are eating at work, I am hesitant to reach you about this [or that]. So what we can do in this situation.

  • Otherwise, tell them smoothly to be productive. In that conversation, surely you will get a chance to advise them about this.


Unlike machines, people won't be productive all the time. So if they don't eat while working, they'd still need to get some fresh air every once in a while. From my experience I should tell you will have a more creative and productive team if you let them be comfortable at work.

After all, do you think big companies offer all benefits expecting nothing?!


Tell them straight away in a group meeting (while discussing other issues) that either they can eat lunch while working for 1 hour or take a lunch break for 1 hour. Not both. That way they will know that there is no such thing as an extended lunch break. Other way is to let the HR know about this problem. They are the best people to handle such issues & ensure that all the employees know about the rules of the workplace.

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