A survey done by Right Management and LinkedIn (2011) revealed that “[f]ewer than half of employees … say they take a lunch break away from their desk on an average day.” And according to Careerbuilder.com, 20 percent eat at their desks, and 13 percent ‘seldom or never’ take time for lunch at all! It is important for managers, supervisors, and leaders at all levels to think about this as we model to our employees what is culturally acceptable around taking a lunch break. If we are not taking a break, our employees probably won’t either—and that can be a recipe for disaster.
Here are some benefits to taking a lunch break—away from your desk—for 30 minutes a day:
- Increased creativity: our body and brain need food—it’s a basic need. And without it, we become unfocused.
- Socialization: taking a break, away from your desk, leads to unstructured human interaction. More than just an opportunity for folks to sit together and talk about life and work, these encounters are a laboratory for new ideas that could benefit your business.
- Recouped Energy: Stepping away from your desk can get the blood moving and alleviate the afternoon slump that occurs as blood sugar levels begin to ebb. By moving around and nourishing yourself, you can regain the energy you need to be productive throughout the rest of the day.
Here are some things you can do on your lunch break:
- Take a walk, get some exercise, and get some fresh air!
- Visit your child at daycare
- Call a friend or family member and catch up
- Head home and walk your dog
- Meet an old friend for lunch
- Run some errands and cross things off your checklist
- Read a magazine or dive into a good book
Working through lunch or otherwise skipping break opportunities provides the illusion of greater productivity. In reality, taking a break will not only benefit you, but those around you.