Why Eating At your Desk Is Banned In France


Woman having a picnic in Paris

Photo: Getty Images

France fun fact: They have banned eating at your desk in the country. 

NPR states, "The French labor code prohibits workers from eating lunch in the workplace. The solo work lunch is also shunned in a culture that prizes a change of pace — and scenery — during the midday meal."

The reason is that during the Industrial Revolution it was unsanitary and spreads germs. The outlet added, "The government's answer: ban lunch in the workplace. Get the people outside and then open the windows to clear out the germs. That was the idea behind the 1894 decree that banned lunch at the workplace."

The French are known for taking their lunch and breaks seriously and taking the time to leave the workplace to enjoy themselves. Do you like eating at your desk?

From NPR:

The lunch break, [food culture historian Martin Bruegel] is quick to point out, does lead to better health outcomes. It does make workers more productive. But, he argues, there's a bigger philosophical point. The lunch break is not just good for individuals or the companies they work for. It's good for society.

"People who eat together are able to talk about issues, and they can work out tensions or different opinions. They create a culture in which having different points of view is possible."

It's the lunch break as a driver of conviviality. A place for serendipity. A public good.

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