We all love lunchtime. After all, who doesn’t love food? Whether you’re stuffing your face with the food that you meal-prepped days ago or chowing down on the sandwich you threw together that morning because you were running late to work, lunch always hits the spot. It’s also a time to reset and refresh your brain and body so you can tackle the afternoon’s challenges. However, for some, lunch hour isn’t the restorative break it should be.
Over 50% of employees have reported skipping their breaks because their workload is keeping them from leaving their desks. Others may avoid the break room because they don’t know their coworkers well enough to get through the awkward chit-chat. But lunch-avoiders may want to think twice—going out of your way to eat, especially with someone else, is beneficial to not only you but your company in the long run!
Lunch is a familiar topic for everyone, but did you know that taking lunch is crucial to a healthy workplace? A lunch break improves productivity, work-life balance, physical health, and overall well-being. Plus, your stomach will thank you later! Here are our top benefits to taking your lunch at work.
Physical Health & Well-being
It may seem obvious, but eating is good for you! Eating a nutritious meal in the middle of the day has many physical benefits for your health. For example, it helps improve your gut health—going long periods of time without eating can negatively impact your gut health and metabolism and contribute to an overall slowdown of how you process food. Eating every couple of hours will help ensure you have a healthy balance of consumption and that you aren’t so hungry at the end of the day that you eat all your calories right before bed. Eating throughout the day fuels your body, helps you burn calories, and absorbs the nutrients from your meals.
Boost Performance & Productivity from Taking Your Lunch Break
When you’re full, you have more mental capacity for work. Eating not only helps your physical health, but it also helps you think, pay attention to details, and create effective work. When you’re hungry, you are more likely to be scatterbrained, and it’s harder to complete tasks correctly and efficiently. You may find yourself going back to redo work you’ve already completed because you missed things the first time around. Even with deadlines looming, taking your full lunch hour isn’t selfish—it helps your productivity in the long run. If a runner doesn’t fuel their body correctly before a big race, then they won’t be able to run as far—the same goes for your mind and work. Fueling your body matters!
All work and no rest? That’s the road to burnout. Not taking your scheduled breaks can contribute to extreme burnout because your body and mind are going too fast for too long. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! This means you should work hard but also take full advantage of your break times for the sake of your brain. Not eating or stepping away from your desk also affects your mood. You don’t want to be known as the grumpy, irritable coworker who desperately needs a sandwich!
In addition, taking your lunch and changing your scenery is an act of self-care, which is vital to avoid burnout. Taking care of yourself little by little each day leads to more endurance to get things done and overall happiness and satisfaction at work. Less-stressed employees also lead to an increase in employee retention and a positive impact on overall company culture.
Healthy Coworker Relationships & Company Culture
In your lifetime, you’ll spend an average of 85,000 hours at work, so why spend it without a work friend? There’s an epidemic of loneliness in America, with 52% of Americans reporting feeling lonely. With this shocking statistic and the current climate of remote and hybrid work, there may not be as many opportunities for connections in the office. This can lead to more isolation and end up contributing to burnout or depression. Adults also have a harder time making genuine friendships as they get older and life becomes busier.
Taking your lunch offers the perfect opportunity to get to know your coworkers. Sitting down and sharing a meal together can improve relationships, help decrease loneliness, and increase workplace satisfaction. Whether you work from home or in the office, having a friend at work that you can catch up with is also incredibly beneficial to your overall quality of life and work. Take your lunch to connect with a coworker, either in-person or over Zoom, and ask them about their weekend or favorite TV show. Not only will finding common interests with your coworkers improve your well-being, but workplace friendships have a direct, positive impact on the overall business.
Studies have shown that when 60% of employees have a friend at work, customer engagement increases by 7% and profits increase by 12%. They also lead to lower employee turnover, which, for the company at large, is extremely beneficial. Leaders can foster and encourage these friendships by prioritizing lunches and breaks for employees to connect. Cultivating these interpersonal relationships between staff creates a positive company culture and leads to a happier workforce.
Take Your Lunch Break!
There are plenty of benefits to taking your lunch that not only increase your overall happiness and well-being but also have an impact on those around you. So, make sure you take care of yourself and step away from your desk to eat, refresh, and recharge. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
LCS encourages our employees to fuel their bodies and their social connections with food-based social events throughout the year. From company-sponsored lunches to on-site summertime food trucks, there’s always something tasty and fun for our employees to enjoy. We know how important fueling your brain and body is. That’s why we encourage our employees to take their lunch, talk to a coworker, or go for a walk! If you’re looking for a company that cares for its employees and has a great workplace culture, visit our careers page!