According to a survey, only around 30% of UK workers take a full lunch break away from their desks; this is despite the overwhelming evidence of how positive a lunch break can be for our health. As for the other 70%, well there were a myriad of reasons as to why people couldn’t justify the time away. Some cited having too much work, stress levels and workplace culture, a few even said that they prefer the internet to being outdoors! So what are the advantages? And why should you take a break away from your desk?
Taking ‘Better Breaks’
According to research by Baylor University, you should target a ‘better break’. The idea is to have your break earlier in the day and to spend it doing something you enjoy. This doesn’t even have to be something non-work related, you could schedule your favourite task for this time in the week. This will enable you to face the rest of the day refreshed. The people who took part in this side of the study also reported higher job satisfaction and organisational citizenship behaviour (going the extra mile), with a decreased risk of stress-related burnout.
Taking a lunch break actually makes you more productive in the afternoon. Whilst you might think that the idea of spending half an hour at lunch is counter-intuitive to getting your work done. It has been proven that the gap during the day aids focus and motivation; meaning you will be in a better position to get more done with the gap in the day than without.
Health and Wellbeing
The evidence suggests that even just a 20 minute break can have some physiological benefits. Those that took the time away from their desk reported fewer common ailments including headaches, eyestrain and lower back pain. You may also be able to leave the office completely, getting all the positives from fresh air and walking.
Enjoy your Food
You will also be able to enjoy the food you are eating. It’s very easy to shovel a sandwich down in 3 minutes, but taking the extra time you can savour what you are eating, and do your body a favour by eating it at a better pace. Try to pack in some slow energy releasing foods, as you’ll stay more alert, for longer. We’ve written about some lunch tips in the past, which you can read about here.