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4 Reasons Office Workers Shouldn't Eat Lunch at Their Desks

Posted on 07/10/14
Picnic EmployeesOn average, Americans eat lunch at their desks 4 out of 5 days per week. Often, employees use this time to catch up on personal or professional matters while scarfing down a meal. However, this approach can be counterproductive, not to mention a bummer.

Instead of working through your next lunch, try spending it in a different setting that allows you to relax, recharge, and gear up for the rest of the work day.

Reasons to Ditch the Desk at Lunchtime

Besides avoiding the sad desk lunch, several compelling reasons should keep you from inhaling your meals in front of your computer. Some considerations include:

  1. Better work-life balance. Keeping your personal and work time separate helps you feel better about life in general, and taking a "real" lunch break can decrease feelings of burnout and fatigue.
  2. Increased productivity. The brain needs breaks to operate at its best, so working over your lunch break may not yield the results you seek. Step away for an hour, and you'll find your afternoon hours more productive.
  3. Hygiene. When was the last time you cleaned your desk? Workspaces tend to host exponentially more bacteria than kitchens or restrooms, so unless you keep your desk immaculate, it's best to eat elsewhere.
  4. Social interaction. Remember people? Those beings that occasionally pass your office and talk words at you? Going out to lunch with colleagues can turn them into advocates and friends, something everyone needs at work.

Where Should I Go Instead?

Fine, you won't eat at your desk anymore. But where else are you supposed to go? Depending on your office location and what your employer provides, you might consider settings such as:

  • Break rooms. Disregard this advice if your company's "break room" amounts to little more than a windowless space with flickering fluorescent lights. Otherwise, enjoy the change of setting, interaction with coworkers, and access to free coffee!
  • Outdoor areas. If it's nice outside, take advantage of the benefits of direct sunlight while breathing in the fresh air and observing the simple beauty of nature.
  • Restaurants. While not cost effective for most people's daily routines, the occasional lunch out is a tasty way to treat yourself or celebrate a special day with a colleague.

Whether you are an employer or an employee, take it from us: desk lunches aren't worth it. Eat your meals away from the office, encourage colleagues to do the same, and watch as your work hours become more productive than ever.

Author: Robert Stillman CEO

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