You wouldn’t leave vacation days unused, working instead of taking off the time you’ve earned; however, working through lunch happens much too often. We’re constantly being asked to do more at work. Extra meetings. Extra reports. Extra paperwork. Eating lunch at your desk or worse yet, skipping lunch sometimes seems the answer to these extra demands, but there are plenty of reasons why eating at your desk is not a good idea.
- You may eat more. Mindless eating while working at your computer, staring at a screen, leads to overeating. You may be a master multitasker, but chances are you’re not paying attention to the amount of food you’re eating.
- You’re missing social time. Remember how much you enjoyed lunch in high school? It wasn’t because of the delicious cafeteria food. It was because you spent time with others. Eating with co-workers helps you make connections and breaks up the monotony of the day.
- You need to get up and move. It’s easy to sit in one spot all day working on that big project, but by eating lunch away from your desk you’re guaranteed a chance to get the blood flowing. Even if you just walk to the break room or cafeteria, that’s a start; and once you’re up and away from the desk, you’re more likely to take a real break.
- You need a brain break. A short break from your work routine gives you a chance to recharge and will improve your productivity.
And if these reasons haven’t inspired you to eat away from your desk, maybe this research by Charles Gerba at the University of Arizona will do the trick. He says that a desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet. This is mainly because food dropped on your desk during these eating episodes is never cleaned properly. Wiping with a napkin or damp paper towel doesn’t do the trick. Your desk is not a healthy place for a meal.
Take advantage of your lunch hour. What a joke! Make that your lunch break.
- Bring your lunch and eat mindfully so you enjoy your food.
- Eat with a friend or co-worker, at least once a week.
- Take a walk.
- Read a magazine if you can’t take the silence.
- Eat outside and enjoy the fresh air.
But please, don’t eat at your desk.