How many times have you had lunch at your desk this year? Did you really like eating alone and not seeing sunshine for eight hours a day? If you think you’re being more productive by eating at your desk, then think again!
A BBC survey carried out with 600 office workers found that 54% of people regularly work through their lunch breaks; these people felt as though this was simply the culture of their organisation. 20% of these workers felt under pressure from their manager not to take a break. It’s easy to rationalise skipping lunch or eating at your desk, but studies show that a break is actually good for your productivity.
Our American counterparts, according to the The Washington Post, lose $1.8 trillion per year in lost productivity. Factors like logging into Facebook throughout the workday, showing up to work hung over, or opting not to take a lunch break all prove to affect this very drastic loss.
So what’s the big deal about skipping lunch or chowing down at your desk between emails? Research shows that taking a lunch break improves your cognitive capabilities, creativity, and overall can increase your productivity. Tasks that require a high level of mental energy and focus can result in fatigue and even exhaustion. Our brains need time to recover in order to operate at full capacity. Therefore, taking a walk, getting some fresh air, eating fresh food, and taking in some sunny vitamin D re-energises the body and mind.
After establishing a mandatory lunch break policy, an Ipswich financial organisation reported a significant drop in sickies and a reduction in staff turnover. In turn, customer-employee relationships enhanced; by allowing customers to work with the same employees for a longer time period, customer satisfaction increased.
In addition to being more productive after a break, there are health benefits to stopping for lunch too. Eating at your desk can form a habit of ‘mindless eating.’ If your desk is a place where you sit all day and eat lunch, is it also a place to snack too much or eat the wrong foods.
We hope you’ll get out for lunch today; even 15 minutes will make a difference. If you can get some sun, the vitamin D will help produce extra serotonin, a hormone that plays a significant role in determining our moods.
So there you have it: having lunch will make you smarter in the afternoons and more productive as well as healthier and happier at work!