Taking a break for lunch has become a bit of a taboo in many offices. Employees have overloaded workloads and want to be seen as diligent workers who are willing to put in the time to get things done. As a result, they often choose to work through lunch and just eat at their desks instead of leaving the office for a bit. According to a survey by a management consulting firm, 81 percent of workers don’t take what’s considered an actual lunch break.
Although it may not seem like a big deal for your employees to work nonstop throughout the day, this kind of behavior hurts your organization more than it helps. What’s the harm in missing lunch?
Lowers productivity: Just like your phone needs to be recharged to work well, your body needs breaks to continue operating at a high level. If you try to push yourself through lunch, you’ll have a tougher time in the afternoon actually getting through your to-do list. Experts have found that giving your brain time off for lunch restores your energy and helps you come back to work focused, refreshed and productive.
Hurts physical health: Much has been said about the dangers of sitting all day long. Staying at your desk for hours on end can increase risk for obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more. Deciding to take a short walk at lunchtime (as well as little walks around the office throughout the day) can do a lot to counteract those risks. An extra bonus is that a noon walk can improve your mood and help you handle stress better when you’re back at the office.
Increases risk of burnout: Work can be incredibly stressful and job demands can weigh heavily on you. If you rarely have time to yourself, you’ll become dissatisfied and unenthusiastic about your job—a situation known as burnout. It can be tough to come back from that point, so it’s worth taking daily mental health breaks on a daily basis.
No matter how much research there is encouraging employees to take lunch breaks, they won’t if the office culture doesn’t encourage it. Try not to schedule lunchtime meetings or conference calls, make sure managers set an example by getting out of the office at lunchtime and if you see employees working with a half-eaten sandwich on their desk, mention that it’s a beautiful day outside and that they should take a quick walk and enjoy it.
For other ways to boost employees’ productivity and morale, check out these blogs from A Healthier Michigan:
- Will a Healthy Work Environment Lead to Healthy Employees? You Bet It Will
- The Latest Trend for Keeping Employees Happy and Healthy
- Wellness Programs: Good for Employees, Even Better for Your Business
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