Many coworkers of mine grab their lunch and eat at their desk every day. I am guilty of that too on days when I am extremely busy. When I want to wrap something up quickly, or have too many meetings or deadlines to meet, I end up eating at my desk. Otherwise, for the most part, I make a point to take my full lunch hour. Honestly, sometimes it is one of the only free hours to myself all day. I don’t feel bad for taking my full hour lunch and no one else should. It is important to take your lunch hour!
In finance, so many of us work nine hours a day minimum. In companies that I worked at previously, the culture was not forgiving to those who took their lunch hour. Many managers pushed a negative culture that caused their employees to feel as though the only way to be rewarded was to work through lunch. No one should feel bad for taking their time, especially when you are working so many hours already. This is actually damaging to productivity. Taking breaks have shown to recharge employees and increase productivity. Really, how productive can you be when trying to respond to an email at the same time you are rushing to eat your lunch?
I use this hour as free time to take care of myself. Sometimes, I use this time to get a manicure, or get 30 minutes in of cardio, or just sit and enjoy lunch with a friend. I feel more energized once I return from this break and it allows me to accomplish more in the afternoon. I’ve listed four reasons why everyone should take their lunch hour.
1.It helps to relieve stress. – Just stepping away from work can help to lower stress levels. You can work on running your errands and knocking off things from your to do list which will ease your mind. I have spent this time getting manicures which puts me in a positive mood and is one less thing I have to worry about when I get home.
2. You will accomplish more. Research has shown that regular breaks increase productivity. Working straight through the day can actually keep you in a rut and cause you to lose focus. A change in scenery will allow you to come back to the office and have a new outlook on your current tasks. Just stepping away will give you a clearer mind and leave you energized to return to work and tackle the rest of the day. I definitely work better after having a good meal.
3. Your overall health will be better. Being sedentary for eight hours a day is already bad for your health. Getting up and moving around is necessary to decrease eye strain, lower back pain and fatigue. Walking helps to stretch those muscles and relive pressure that builds up while sitting for so long. In addition to moving, you are probably not eating the healthiest food when you rush to eat at your desk. Taking time to go out and choose a healthy meal is beneficial to your health. I have used this time to visit the gym because I know I won’t find time for it later. Being active and eating healthy is another reason to go out for your lunch hour.
4. It adds to your overall happiness. How would you feel if you didn’t even feel comfortable taking time away from your desk to eat. Thats not a good feeling or a positive work environment. Sometimes, people are just used to working through lunch even though their managers don’t mind them stepping out. You have to get up and make this happen and make that change. Taking your lunch hour allows you to be refreshed. There is so much you can do with that time as well that will improve your mood. I have in the past used this time to study another language. that made me feel good that I was being productive with something that was personal to me. I am not quite fluent, or close to it, but at least I have spent my time in a way that makes me happy.
I hope you will make an effort to step away from the desk even if it is just for thirty minutes. You’re already an amazing employee so you deserve that time to eat in peace.
How do you spend your lunch hour?
Thank you for reading,