Let me start by saying I can be a bit of a workaholic. I’ve been known to check my work email at 10 p.m., stay late at work on a Friday, and even put in extra hours over the weekend. So, it comes as no surprise that I’ve taken many of my lunch hours sitting at my desk, working while I eat. I’m not alone in this either, as nearly 3/4 of Americans eat lunch at their desks. However, while I may still work overtime, I won’t eat lunch in my cubicle ever again. Here’s why:
1. Unhealthy Choices
If you have a lot of work on your plate, it often seems like eating while tackling your to-do list is the only option. However, eating while working often leads to making poor food choices, like eating snack foods left in the office kitchen, or ordering in an unhealthy lunch.
While it may seem like sitting at your desk all day to work will help you accomplish more than you would taking a lunch break, the opposite is actually true. Working all day without taking any breaks can actually make you less creative and less productive and inevitably hit a rut. In order to be the most efficient, your mind needs to take breaks to recharge in the middle of your workday. While quick bathroom and water-cooler breaks can give your brain some time to relax, eating lunch away from your desk will definitely help you be more productive.
3. The Physical Effects
By now it’s no surprise how bad it is to sit at a desk all day. As being sedentary without pause for eight hours or more each day can wreak havoc on your body, taking a lunch break is absolutely vital. Taking this time in the middle of the day to walk around, stretch and just get away from your desk will no doubt improve your health.
4. Social Life
One of the many perks of taking a lunch break at work is being able to socialize with your colleagues. If you’re stuck behind your computer screen all day, chances are you won’t be able to talk with your co-workers (unless it’s via email). This can definitely cause unhappiness at work. Bortek Industries encourages its employees to take breaks together and often has team lunches to help people get to know each other. Taking the time to eat and socialize with your colleagues outside of the office, even if it’s once a week, can boost your mood and make the rest of your workday more bearable.
5. Eating Mindlessly
If you’ve ever watched a movie with a bowl of popcorn close by, you’ve likely eaten the entire bowl without even realizing it. The same phenomenon often happens at work when you feel forced to eat at your desk. Instead of portioning your bag of chips, you end up eating them all, creating poor food habits.
When it comes right down to it, there’s noting productive, healthy or helpful about eating lunch at the office. In fact, it’s purely a sacrifice of health and happiness, with zero gain. Knowing this, I may still hold onto my workaholic ways, but I definitely will never eat lunch at my desk again.
photo credit: MBK (Marjie) via photopin cc