Sandwich in one hand, catching up on emails with the other. If you work in an office, chances are you take lunch right at your desk. Research has shown that eating at your desk is one of the worst things you can do, not just for your health, but also your career. Learn why you shouldn’t eat behind your desk.
Maybe you have deadlines to meet or feel that your lunch break is the best time to catch up on emails; there are many reasons why almost two thirds of working professionals don’t leave their desk for lunch. However, eating at your desk isn’t just unhealthy and gross, there are numerous other reasons why you should get up from your seat and perhaps even leave the office altogether.
“Creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment, to a natural environment" says Professor Kimberly Elsbach from the University of California, Davis.
The professor of management and expert in organisational behaviour adds that “staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It's also detrimental to doing that rumination that's needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an ‘aha' moment".
Said differently, when you get up from your desk during your break, even better, if you take this time to have a little stroll around the building, it will greatly boost your creativity and can incite new motivation and ideas!
Being social at work, even if it’s just a little small talk during your lunch break, can have many benefits. Rather than spending this time at your desk, you can use these valuable minutes to get to know your co-workers better, or maybe do some casual networking. Some small talk over a salad at lunch can provide new insights on your workplace and might even open unexpected opportunities that you’d otherwise miss. Connecting with your co-workers is arguably also the best way to ensure a pleasant work environment. So don’t be a grouch!
The fact that sitting on your butt all day long isn’t healthy is no secret. The good thing is that you don’t need to engage in some strenuous exercises to do something about it. Even doing some light stretching or walking during your lunch break can greatly benefit not just your tender muscles and sore spine, but can also give your mind a relaxing break!
A recent study revealed that the average work desk harbours more microorganisms than a toilet seat. Bits of food stuck all over your keyboard are the ideal breeding ground for all sorts of nastiness. You should really think twice about whether you want to eat among all these potential pathogens. While we’re at it, the same applies to using your phone while you’re eating. Together with your work desk and computer, your phone is another favourite hangout for nasty microorganisms and bacteria. Not exactly the most appetising addition to your lunch break.
A New York Times article informs us that eating in front of the computer leads to increased calorie consumption and weight gain. When we’re alone at our desk, we tend to snack more, which is worse than having a larger, healthier meal. What’s more, the lack of physical exercise associated with staying in our seat makes weight gain even more likely.
Over two thirds of employees work the same hours every day. Most of us will start working early in the morning and come home late in the afternoon or evening. This often results in a lack of sunlight that can lead to low levels of vitamin D. This in turn can lead to all sorts of physical health issues, a bad mood, and even depression.
Lunchtime is often the only time of day when we can get a healthy dose of sunlight. Fifteen minutes outdoors can be all you need to receive a healthy dose of vitamin D. What’s more, sunshine helps release serotonin in our brain, which makes us feel happy and positive. You may have a stressful day at work, but you will feel much better after getting a small fix of sun!