Why you should stop skipping your lunch break
Noticing less of your co-workers stepping out for lunch and more just eating at their desks or skipping the meal altogether? This is a common trend in today’s workplace, as Americans are becoming more work-obsessed, experts say.
While you may forego the half-hour or hour you’re allowed to take and just eat at your desk instead to save time, you might actually be making it harder for yourself. Taking a break can re-energize your mind, and leave you happier and more productive both in and out of the office.
“It’s critical to make the most of lunch and remind yourself that by taking a proper break you will accomplish more in the long run, and that productivity and creativity will increase, while your levels of stress and fatigue will diminish,” Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author and president of Humor at Work, told Forbes.
Forbes spoke with several career and workplace experts and compiled a list of things you should do on your lunch break everyday. None of them involve sitting and eating at your desk. Getting up, going outside, and using the time wisely to focus on anything but work is vital for your health and well-being. So put away the phone, and use your midday break to recharge for the afternoon.
Here are some of the tips:
1. Make a plan. Don’t just let the time pass by; try your best to plan out what you want to accomplish so you can make the most of your break. Kerr suggests planning your activities immediately after lunch. “Giving thought to how you prioritize and schedule events in the afternoon can maximize your productivity,” he told Forbes.
2. Do what you can’t do before or after work. You may have to run errands to places that are only open during business hours, such as the Post Office or bank. Use this time to go to those places and to cross off some things on your to-do list. But make sure you don’t cram too many errands in at once, as that could just add more stress.
3. Put away the phone and computer. You spend all day looking at your computer screen, so use this time as a break from technology. Not only will it give your eyes a rest, but you won’t be bothered by work emails while you’re trying to take a break.
4. Meet new co-workers. Get to know some of your co-workers on a more personal level by going out to lunch with them. Being friendly with other employees can make your work environment more pleasant.
5. Participate in activities that will help you re-energize. Step out of the office and do something that will make you feel good, whether that involves taking a walk, going to the gym, or taking a workout class. There are many places in Philadelphia where you can get a nice midday workout.
6. Network. Use the time to meet up with people in your industry who could help you in the next part of your career. “Even if you’re perfectly happy in your job, and you’re not looking for a new one, it can’t hurt to continuously build and maintain your professional network,” author Jacquelyn Smith says.