I came across an article about “Workplace Toxicity” and the debate on if employees should invite every co-worker to lunch. The article can be found here and the TikTok post that sparked the debate is embedded below.
Lunch at work can be a very impactful and valuable event, increasing comradery and providing a much necessary break from the daily tasks. Adam Uzialko wrote a great article about the benefits of workplace meals in Business News Daily. I can see both sides to the argument of inviting every coworker to lunch. On the proponent side, the major reason is that this prevents exclusion at work, and everyone gets the opportunity to receive the benefits of a communal meal. Those against inviting everyone state that we are all adults and whom we choose to eat with is our own prerogative.
From my personal perspective, inviting everyone is just not feasible. With 20+ members in the leadership core, it would be nearly impossible to find a place to eat that can accommodate that many people with separate checks, let alone trying to find a place that 20 people can agree upon. Also, I believe that with a large group you would run into diminishing returns in terms of team building, and the social interaction would only take place with those in your immediate vicinity. I am though, vehemently against excluding coworkers from lunch when the exclusion is used as a weapon.
What I do at work is invite anyone to lunch who is within listening distance. Now, there are times when I have to have a “working” lunch with certain people in which we’ll be working on a particular project while we eat. I still invite those around me that aren’t directly involved with a project, but I’m also transparent with them about the intentions of this particular lunch. There are also times when I need a complete break and want to eat alone, again, I am transparent with my peers about my plans. Bottom line is this: Please don’t be offended if I don’t invite you to lunch today, there’s always tomorrow. I won’t be offended if you decline my lunch offer, again, there’s always tomorrow.