These days, stopping for lunch has become synonymous with not having enough to do.
Too many hardworking employees are skipping lunch, often claiming it’s to avoid staying late. In reality, increased stress and reduced energy – caused by working through lunch – will make you less productive than taking at least twenty minutes away from your desk daily.
A study by Eventa has revealed 56% of successful women still take a lunch break, and proves you can take a break and be considered hardworking.
Consistently skipping lunch gives a bad impression to staff, who may feel less inclined to take a break for fear of a perception they’re not working hard enough. Below are the reasons you should be taking a break, and encouraging your team to do the same.
Obvious, we know, but too many of us take little care when it comes to lunch.
Whether we’re skipping – which will only lead to snacking – or grabbing fast food, neither is ideal, particularly if you’re doing it daily.
By encouraging a lunch hour, it gives you and your team time to grab a sensible meal. Try to sit down and casually enjoy lunch out, perhaps with the team. The relaxed atmosphere and slower pace will help you to wind down, renewing energy ready for a hectic afternoon.
Alternatively, get into the habit of bringing healthy lunches. Taking a reduced, or no, lunch break increases your want to grab fast food; not only is this diet extremely unhealthy, but fast food itself increases stress, through a quick-paced atmosphere within stores.
Getting away from your desk is important, even if you can’t spare an hour. Eating in the office elevates stress levels, increasing cortisol which leaves fat accumulation in the body. There’s also more chance of you overeating, as work distractions mean you don’t realise you’re full until you’ve eaten too much!
To get things done
It might not seem like it, but you and your team do have a life outside of work and, unfortunately, everyday tasks sometimes need completing during work hours.
From arranging appointments, such as doctors or dentists, to dropping something at the post office, everyone has things to do that – thanks to 9-5 opening hours – can only be done whilst at work. By encouraging a break, you are covertly encouraging staff to do these tasks during the hour. Nobody will mind spending 10 minutes of a regular break calling the dentist, but if lunch is practically non-existent, these jobs will be done as and when staff members remember; eating into work time and providing distractions.
A lunch break is also a great time to catch up with friends or family – whether via social media or phone – leaving no excuse for staff to be regularly checking Facebook when they’re meant to be working.
To improve concentration and reduce stress
After a morning of working, you’re likely to be wavering by lunch time so instead of powering through it – which won’t get you anywhere – move away from your desk.
Whether you go for a walk, read a book or just watch television in the staffroom, allowing yourself at least 20 minutes will reduce your stress and improve concentration for the afternoon.
By encouraging staff to do this too, you’re alleviating reasons for unnecessary tension caused by stress or exhaustion. If everyone has stepped out for lunch, the afternoon’s atmosphere is likely to be far more positive and productive in the office.
We don’t all get chance to exercise before work, and many of us find it easy to duck out if we wait until afterwards, but lunchtime is as good a time as any to do it.
In fact, it’s actually better, as your lung performance and muscle strength are at their peak in the afternoon, so going for a lunchtime jog is more beneficial than going before work.
If you haven’t got time, try a seven minute workout; short but still effective when done regularly. If there isn’t a shower at your office or you don’t fancy committing to anything heavy, taking a walk will get you outside and stretch your legs.
Long term, you could consider employee incentives or exercise classes to encourage staff to take a break and refresh ready for the afternoon.
Being busy isn’t a reason to ditch your break – it’s actually a better reason to take it – as this way you, and your staff, will perform far better in the afternoon and long-term. Start by setting yourself aside 20 minutes a day, get away from your desk, and watch as your concentration and work flow improve.
Find out more
A recent article in Forbes showed the daily routines of successful women in the US and it got us thinking. Was this the case across the globe? We wanted to find out if there were other equally successful women who weren’t up at 4am to do pilates every day. Our asset shows that all women can be are just as successful when they have routines which work for them.
Rowena is a content composer at RocketMill, with previous experience in social media and brand reputation.
She spends a lot of time with her head in a book or watching too much Sci-Fi.