Monday 7th August 2017

Amongst the fast-paced climate of the typical office, working lunches have become more and more popular.

Why though? Why are employees not utilising their lunch hours; their mid-day break from work, which they are entitled to (depending on company policies)? Do employees fear the impression that they are not working hard enough, that they are wasting time?

Is it healthy to take a proper lunch break?

…or is it precious working time wasted?

There are many criticisms of the concept of working lunches, but according to research from The University of Toronto Scarborough, if it’s the employees’ choice to take a working lunch, then it’s not really a big problem. However, the same research also found that being forced not to take a lunch break can cause fatigue and lower productivity levels in workers.

Employers take note – cultivating an environment of choice when it comes to lunchtime will help keep productivity levels healthy.

Achieving more in your work day

Where many would argue that the natural cycle of the human brain means we need to take a proper lunch break to decompress, a further look can suggest otherwise. Instead of taking a one-hour break for lunch, some experts recommend a smattering of more frequent, shorter breaks throughout the day. The Pomodoro Technique is a good example of this, with fans of the technique saying they’re able to achieve much more in a shorter space of time by following it.

Despite this, the general recommendation for a happier working life is to take a relaxing lunch break.

But how do you relax in the office, exactly?

Actively leaving the office for lunch, according to The Telegraph, is reported to boost an individual’s mood, as is socialising with others at lunchtime. However, don’t think you can cheat this by arranging working lunches in venues outside of the office – many people find formal working lunches with colleagues or clients to be intimidating, and some will drink alcohol to compensate. The research by University of Toronto Scarborough also reveals that while socialising at lunchtime can have a positive effect on workers, it is negated if that socialising is done with colleagues (and especially the boss).

Staying positive

Overall, it seems if you want to stay positive at work, the best idea is to generally avoid working lunches, and ensure you’re in control of your decision. Getting outside is also a good plan, with a 5-minute stroll seemingly enough to provide a decent mood boost to get you through the afternoon.

Research report: Attitudes to Hybrid Working.

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