With 50% of employees reporting that workloads prevent them from taking a lunch break
and one third of employees feeling their boss expects them to work through lunch,
we see there’s increasing pressure to skip lunch and keep working.
Although eating at our desk or working through breaks may not feel tiring at the time, doing so wears us down. Avoid making it a habit.
Studies by Demerouti and by Trougakos show that working during breaks is detrimental to recovery from work demands. (The fatiguing impact is lessened when the employee has more autonomy and made that choice themselves.)
In contrast, relaxing activities during lunch breaks aided recovery.
Take a real lunch break and focus on non-work topics.
Some companies, like Toronto’s CBRE, have banned desk lunches!
The first step is to become aware of what you do at lunch….
catching up on work, or socializing that’s stressful or requires effort,
will result in less-than-optimal recovery.
It is particularly detrimental to recovery when our breaks give us little autonomy and our break activities are not relaxing.
Canadians are spending an increasing amount of time at work.
At lunchtime it really helps to take a break from the work.
It improves efficiency, mood and energy.
So kick back for a few minutes. Take a short leisure break. And relax!
For effective, practical stress management skills that enhance health and performance, check out the Stress Management & High Performance Clinic programs at http://www.SelfRegulationSkills.ca.
Kathy Somers, R.Kin, BCB