Around 67% of office workers eat their lunch at their desks each day and the – once-customary – ‘lunch hour’ is becoming shorter and shorter for many. Whilst snatching a bite to eat between emails may seem like the most productive lunch plan when managing a heavy workload, munching those leftovers al-desk-o could actually be detrimental to your health, productivity and happiness.
Take a look at our top five reasons to enjoy lunch away from your desk:
Increased Productivity and Creativity
While it may seem counterproductive to tear yourself away from your desk on a busy day, it might actually be the most beneficial thing you could do to boost your productivity and help you tackle your to-do list!
Taking a break from your desk (even just for 20 minutes – though ideally for a full hour at lunch!) is a proven method of helping to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the working day. By allowing yourself time away from your computer screen your brain has time to switch off and rest, leaving you invigorated and refreshed on your return to the office.
The team that lunches together, works well together. Studies have found that teams that eat their lunch together – away from their desks –make closer personal bonds with their colleagues, helping them work more cohesively as a team when back in the office.
The sedentary lifestyle of an office worker does not lend itself to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies have found that prolonged sitting can have serious implications for your health, including your circulatory system, musculoskeletal system and metabolism, putting sedentary individuals at a greater risk of diabetes, persistent back problems and heart disease. A lunchtime stroll can lower the risk of these health problems and substantially improve your overall wellbeing.
Studies have also shown that those that remain behind their desk instead of taking a break over lunch often make poorer food choices, relying on unhealthy snacks as fuel for the working day – which brings its own set of health issues for the desk-bound office worker.
Taking a break over lunch can greatly reduce your stress levels by allowing your mind to switch off from the pressures of the working day. Spend some time occupying yourself with non-work related topics and feel the stress melt away during your lunch break!
Those lunchtime walks are also beneficial when reducing stress as well as improving your health: the exercise causes the body to release endorphins – the hormone that reduces stress and improves mood. A 2015 study found that walking for half an hour at lunchtime improves enthusiasm and relaxation at work, whilst also alleviating nervousness in the workplace.
With the benefits of reduced stress, improved health and increased productivity who wouldn’t feel more satisfied in the workplace! Studies have also found that workers who take a lunch break together enjoy increased workplace satisfaction due to the positive relationships that they build with their co-workers. Satisfied workers are often far more engaged with – which has obvious benefits for employers too.
Venture out from behind your desk on your next lunch break – your mind and body (and maybe even your boss!) will thank you!