For the workaholics, it’s all too easy to get caught up in work. You can only accomplish so much in a day before it’s time to pack up and head home. That’s why many people are lulled into believing that eating lunch at the office desk may seem like a good way to make the most of their work time. Sure, this selfless behavior and dedication may impress your boss, but it will certainly cause a whole host of health problems in the long run.
You may think that you’re being more productive by eating lunch at your desk while you work, or even that taking a lunch break is counterproductive. But in reality, not sparing time for a midday break actually contributes to a drop in productivity and a loss of focus. Here’s why you should steer clear of eating at your desk and take an actual break outside.
When you’ve got a lot of work at hand, it’s perfectly understandable to grab a sandwich and eat at your desk. But staying seated for hours on end at your desk will eventually take its toll on your whole body, especially the joints and muscles. In fact, studies show that eating lunch at your desk can cause increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases. The fact is, your body needs a break, and not taking one will only slow it down for the rest of the day.
Did you know that interacting with your coworkers can actually improve your mood and make work more enjoyable? Relationships in the workplace are more important than you think, and taking a lunch break gives you the opportunity to briefly let go of your duties and enjoy the time with people you work alongside every day. Many researches show that those who have lunch with friends at work are likely to be more productive, have lower stress, and less likely to suffer from feelings of depression and isolation than those that choose to eat alone.
We all know that working non-stop can be stressful, but pushing it through lunch will make it even more so. Depriving your body and mind from the much-needed rest can lead to higher levels of burnout and fatigue. You need to recover by taking some time to get away from your computer monitor and desk. Yes, this may cost you a bit of time now, but you’ll experience a boost in productivity after refreshing your brain and your body.
Remember how you start munching away while watching a movie and then, a few moments later, you realize you’re on your last bite? This is called ‘mindless eating’, a situation when your body and brain don’t properly process the amount of food you consume because you’re preoccupied with something while eating. It’s the same thing with eating lunch at your desk. When your focus is directed towards the annual sales report, you may end up taking in more calories than you realize.
So when the clock strikes noon, do you get up from your desk and head out to lunch, or do you remain seated and continue working? Yes, working during lunch can help you meet deadlines and catch up with your tasks faster, but it’s better to spare some time to take a lunch break. If you absolutely must be present at your desk, try to do a few stretches or get up and walk around for a few minutes, at the very least.