Lunchtime Politics In The Office: Where Do You Fit?
Whether you eat out every day of the week or tend to grab a quick sandwich at your desk, none of us are immune to the presence of office lunchtime politics. But are you the resident gym bunny or the heart of your office social life? We’ve compiled a guide of different office lunchtime routines to help you identify where you fit in.
The lunchtime clique
Whilst the workplace is peppered with groups and friendships carefully negotiating the waters of office politics, every office will have the lunchtime clique which gathers together dutifully in the same place, at the same time every day. Whether this group consists of the ladies of the office in a ‘mean girls’ style gathering or the ‘lads’ of the office discussing the previous night out, it usual exists to the exclusion of the rest of the office.
The gym bunny
Not only will this workout fanatic visit the gym virtually every lunchtime, they won’t let you forget it. With their assortment of classes you’ve never heard of, toned abs and irritatingly self-righteous aspect, the gym bunny makes it easy for you to hate them. But at the same time, you wish you had their level of motivation. If you don’t go to gym regularly, or don’t fancy getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise, lunchtime workouts are definitely something you should try.
There’s always one colleague who’s incredibly productive, not just in their job, but in all the side-line projects they take on. The productive workaholic is far from the stereotypical image of a man in a suit glued to his desk, and flies about here, there and everywhere getting everything done. This colleague will likely spend their lunch hour completing one of these projects, whether it be writing up the theatre review for the play they saw the night before or completing their latest freelance article.
If you spend every lunch out of the office meeting friends and fulfilling your busy schedule of social engagements, all of which are of course external to your colleagues’ lives, then you’re the office socialite. You’re probably great fun – certainly, judging by all the events you purport to attend – but your office colleagues wouldn’t know because they never see you during sociable hours. Take the time to occasionally have lunch with those that you sit next to, and get to know your work colleagues. Prioritise the odd work party over yet another gathering of your friends as a means of integrating more firmly within your work group.
The lone ranger
If you feel like it all gets a bit too much staying in the office at all hours and you need to escape on a daily basis, taking a walk, shopping or calling your family can be a great way to take a break. If this is the case every single day then you may cut the image of the lone ranger. The need to escape your desk for a single hour of the day is by no means a bad thing, and can in fact be incredibly empowering. If your daily routine factors in this ‘me time’, do also make sure your office colleagues aren’t under the impression that you think their company torturous.
The power lunch
Having a work lunch out at a restaurant schmoozing clients or celebrating your team’s success can often feel like an indicator of power and status. It’s time spent working, but also time to enjoy. The very nature of the lunch meeting indicates the development or maintenance of an important relationship, and is a statement that it’s worth the company’s while to pay for you to have a fancy meal out. Whilst this form of lunch requires you to stick strictly to the rules of business etiquette, and focus on the business task at hand, occasional business lunches can prove an interesting and enjoyable event in the working week. Successfully conducted, they can also be a great way to boost your confidence.
The date with your desk
Working through lunch, munching your sandwich whilst tapping away at your computer makes you one of a third of people who don’t regularly allow themselves a break in their day. Whilst this is sometimes unavoidable, numerous surveys and authorities on well-being discourage such a routine. Even if you just pop out for a breath of fresh air and ten minutes away from your desk, the break will refocus your mind and is likely to make your afternoon more productive.
Alexandra Jane writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate jobs are currently available. Or, if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.