I consider eating at a family dinner table not only to be eating with close family and friends but also with my co-workers. Sure I could eat at my desk, sitting in front of my computer with my office door closed – and I have done this numerous times in the past. Or I can sit in the lunch room with my co-workers and enjoy their company and their stories. I have recently made a conscious effort to have my lunch in our company lunch room and have found this to not only be an enjoyable part of my day, but one that is actually healthier for me.
I found two great articles on the benefits of leaving your work space and eating lunch away from your desk. One of the articles is from the Huffington Post entitled “Eating at Your Desk is Terrible for You and Your Work” and the other is from the site Work it Daily “10 Reasons to Leave your Desk At Lunch“. I encourage you to check these out.
Distilling these articles down to their main points provide the following reasons to get up and away from your desk and computer for lunch.
- Eating away from your desk will help prevent sneaky weight gain. Sitting in front of a computer screen can lead to snacking more. Getting up to sit with others at lunch and away from the computer can make you more focused on what you are eating and provides you with a specified break in order to eat mind fully.
- Moving away from your desk and socializing with others has actually been found to increase your productivity. Everyone needs to take a break now and then in order to regroup and reenergize oneself for the work at hand.
- Sitting together in a lunch room provides you with a chance to get to know your co-workers better and develop better work relationships. Overall job satisfaction improves when you can make connections with your fellow workers.
- Sitting, without getting up and walking around, even if that walk is just to the lunch room, is being active. And any form of activity after sitting for long periods of time staring at your computer is good for you.
- Finally, on a lighter side, your desk and computer won’t be full of food crumbs.
Personally, I have found that getting up and leaving my desk to eat my lunch has helped me to refocus my afternoon to be more productive for me. If I sit at my desk and eat my lunch without a break I am more likely to surf the internet for longer than I should. This results in it being harder to break away and return to the work I am being paid to do. When I have lunch away from my desk, I come back refreshed and ready to get back into my work.
The added benefit of connecting more personally with my co-workers is a great perk and I believe makes me not only a better co-worker, but a more productive team member.