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Don’t eat lunch at your desk

Man eating lunch at his desk

We’ve all had one of those days. Work seems to be piling up and there is no end in sight. No matter how much you get done, more and more appear. But, at the same time, your tummy is a rumbling! What is a person to do?

You may be tempted to bring your lunch to your desk and chomp down while you work. It seems logical that if you don’t break for lunch you’ll get more work done, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Based on a published study by John Trougakos, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and HR Management at the University of Toronto, the absence of a proper lunch break can cause greater fatigue and lower productivity.

Based on his research, your brain can only handle so much before it becomes less effective at everything. It’s important to give yourself a chance to rest and recharge, and that means stepping away from that which is draining you.

The ultimate solution is to take some time for yourself; to change your environment. Go to the park, or even just stare out the window at some trees. Business lunches don’t count because you’re still in work mode, and are probably talking about the same stuff that is making you tired in the first place. You’ll be amazed at your level of restoration just by taking a few minutes to rest and recharge.

This, of course, takes care of the psychological aspects of not eating at your desk. The other thing it consider is the physical environment around you. Several studies have shown that your mouse and keyboard can be dirtier than a toilet seat. Touching dirty surfaces can contribute to the spread of harmful bacteria at the workplace, and also increases your risk of getting ill.

So it seems there are two very good reasons for leaving your desk at lunchtime. You’ll come back and be able contribute more and you won’t have to pick up crumbs out of your keyboard!