Are Lunch Breaks a Thing of the Past? Here’s What You Need to Know

Ashley Kim
Are Lunch Breaks a Thing of the Past? Here’s What You Need to Know

Busy professionals often work through their breaks in an attempt to optimize their minutes in the workplace, but are they actually shortchanging themselves?

According to Right Management, the answer is yes.

Their 2012 study found that only one in five workers take a real lunch break, while two in five workers report taking their lunch break at their desk. 28% say they rarely take a lunch break at all.

When swamped with a full load at the office, employees may feel guilty or unable to walk away from their work, even for a short time. Pushing through breaks may seem like a way to increase productivity when, in reality, it can diminish efficiency and quality.

On a basic level, the body and brain require fuel for optimal performance, so remember to keep that blood sugar level stable. No one does prize work on an empty stomach.

But merely nourishing the body is not always enough. Trying to multitask between the job and eating ultimately leads to an inefficient use of both work time and break time. It’s better to stand up, step away from the screen and change up the view.

It doesn’t have to be all about food, though. Just going for a quick walk outside or even through the building helps unclog the mind and free up space for more creativity and problem solving. Just like a phone battery drains throughout the day, so does one’s physical and mental energy. A quick break to grab a snack, get the blood flowing and experience a change of scenery can be enough to recharge one’s mental state when its battery is running low.

Can’t commit to taking an hour-long lunch break everyday? Cut it down to thirty minutes or even twenty if necessary, and make that time enjoyable. Listen to music, chat with coworkers about non-work related topics, or watch a YouTube video or two. When you get back to work, you’ll be happy you did.