Sunday, July 31, 2011

Four reasons to take a long lunch

No matter what company I've worked for, I witness the same phenomenon: the vast majority of people eat lunch at their desks. They take their microwaved packaged food (which all smells the same, have you noticed that?) back to their cubicles and resort to surfing the Internet in their free time, or even worse, working! How has this become the norm? Why have we become so willing to give up our sacred lunch hour, that we first of all can’t take an hour for ourselves to relax, let alone eat a proper nutritious lunch?

One article I recently read said it succinctly: “Dedicated as we are to efficiency and industry, we deny ourselves vacations, many evenings, the occasional weekend, and – on a daily basis – a proper lunch hour.”
A real lunch hour, involving sitting down somewhere other than at one’s desk and eating real food, for at least an hour, where the focus is entirely on eating and savoring that food. The French are real masters at this. They routinely shut down entire offices so that everyone can go to lunch, which consists of finding a quaint bistro somewhere where they chat it up with friends or co-workers all the while enjoying great food and some down time. Work will always be there for them when they get back, sometimes several hours later. Ok, a 2-hour lunch, unless you’re entertaining a client, is out of the question, but what’s wrong with an hour for ourselves?

I think there are several good reasons why we should reconsider this disagreeable practice of eating at our desks:
1.      Regain some perspective – a change of scenery is necessary to avoid burnout. Return to work energized and refreshed. Relax a bit. How many times have you wrestled with a problem, only to get up, stretch, chat with someone, and return to the problem with a solution?

2.      Explore the neighborhood – try out new places and cuisines by walking the area, find a park bench to sit down and enjoy nature.

3.      Bond with co-workers – spend some time getting to know your co-workers. Even if they don't seem particularly interesting, you might learn something new about them that puts them in a new light. Getting to know some of them could lead to a better understanding on shared projects, builds camaraderie, breaks down barriers, etc. All that over a sandwich.

4.      Take your life back – frankly, the only entity that benefits by you working through lunch is your employer. You will never get back the time you lose by working through lunch. We simply have to begin believing there is more to life than work. (Unless you're self-employed. I realize that's a whole OTHER story.)
On our deathbed, no one ever wishes they had spent more time working. Think about that, the next time you nuke your Lean Cuisine.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Print Friendly