Eating At Your Desk Makes You LESS Productive
If you are anything like me, you probably don’t get out of the office for lunch on a regular basis. Who has time for that?!
It’s not hard to understand why – that can be up to 90 minutes wasted away at some restaurant. When I worked in the office, I always believed that a quick lunch while catching up on emails seemed like an easy way to get my work done faster and home to my family that much quicker.
But it turns out your same old in-office Lean Cuisines aren’t just uninspiring on a culinary level, but also misrepresented when it comes to saving time. Did you know that eating at your desk might make you less productive rather than more overall?
Changing environments boosts creativity: According to NPR, “staying inside in the same location is detrimental to creative thinking.” The reason? Changing environments triggers creativity and innovation. Taking a break, even if just for 15 or 20 minutes, helps to sustain concentration and energy levels. Research from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education found: People who were tasked with thinking about creative uses for everyday objects while walking came up with more ideas than people who brainstormed while sitting.
Your desk is full of germs: Research has shown that the average office keyboard has more bacteria per swab than a toilet seat. Gross. Unless you maintain a tidy workspace, eating at your desk is about as clean as eating in the bathroom.
Distracted eating leads to eating more: If you’re reading emails and putting out fires at work while eating, you’re more likely to eat more. You know how sometimes you start eating lunch and then, a few minutes later, you realize you’re on your last bite? This is called “distracted eating” or “mindless eating,” Studies show that distracted eating can increase caloric intake by up to 50 percent. Step away from the computer, focus on your food and enjoy a more mindful meal.
Get off your seat: Yes, it’s true – you do have to walk to and from the office kitchen to bring your lunch back to your desk but if you eat in the office lunch room, chances are you’ll socialize with colleagues, making mealtime more meaningful. If you’d rather be by yourself then find an offsite venue to eat—a local park perhaps—you’ll do even more for your health by adding extra steps. It is a fact – physical activity actually improves your mood! The brain is more active during exercise than during quiet seated concentration, helping to energize you throughout the rest of the day, sustain focus and spark creativity. Physical activity also reduces stress so use lunch as an opportunity to get up and get out of the office.
Don’t settle for the same old shredded chicken salad or frozen meal with the same old view of your computer. When all is said and done, the research on getting away from your desk at lunchtime is very clear. Research aside, however, common sense dictates that you need to take a break during the middle of the day if you want to do your best work. Give yourself a lunch break away from your desk. You deserve it.