Health Assured CEO and wellbeing expert David Price discusses the importance of lunch breaks
According to a recent survey carried out by Glassdoor, seven in ten UK employees take less than an hour for lunch, with the average lunch break being 31 minutes. Now, we know what many of you are thinking: ’31 minutes? Luxury! I only take ten minutes, and I spend that at my desk!’
Not everyone feels the same. And working through what little lunch break they take might even be harming your staff.
It’s vital to take some time away from your desk every so often. Stretching your legs, resting your eyes and just allowing your mind to clear will help you focus on the tasks at hand. Studies have shown that breaking activities into smaller chunks with rests between dramatically increases the ability to focus.
Here are a few things employees should do with their lunch break. They’ll relieve stress, increase focus and boost productivity—just make sure they actually take their breaks…
Get away from your desk
Don’t eat at your desk. Try not to eat near your work area in general. You associate those spaces with work—for obvious reasons—and simply being somewhere else for an hour will help you reset. You need to do this properly—no checking of work emails on your phone, no taking notes or organising your afternoon, no discussing projects with colleagues. It’s your time. Use it.
Keep your diet healthy, and you’ll keep your brain healthy. Don’t just go for a chocolate bar and sandwich—pack a lunch full of seeds, nuts, fruits and wholegrains to keep your energy levels and your metabolism in a great place for the rest of the day.
Not only should you eat the right foods, but you should eat them in the right way. A study has shown that distracted eating—that is, concentrating on something other than your food—can lead to eating much more, and snacking later on. Practicing mindful eating, and ensuring that work isn’t getting in the way, is a definite health benefit.
You don’t have to spend the whole hour in the gym, but just getting up and taking a walk around the building will refresh and energise you. Of course, nothing is stopping you from a hard workout if that’s what you want—after all exercise has a proven positive effect on wellbeing.
Make sure your staff—and you—take proper breaks. Your physical and mental health will reap the rewards.