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We're Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks. Why That's Bad For Business

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  • We're Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks. Why That's Bad For Business

    MARCH 05, 201510:47 AM ET



    Did you take a lunch break yesterday? Are you planning to take one today?
    Chances are the answer is no. Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch.Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal. Most workers are simply eating at their desks.
    But studies have also found that the longer you stay at work, the more important it is to get outside of the office, even if it's just for a few minutes, because creativity can take a hit when you don't change environments.
    "We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment, to a natural environment," says Kimberly Elsbach, a professor at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, who studies workplace psychology.
    "So staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking. It's also detrimental to doing that rumination that's needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an 'aha' moment," Elsbach tells Jeremy Hobson, host of Here & Now.
    And in a knowledge-based economy, where innovation is what your workers produce, that can also be detrimental to the bottom line.
    To reap the benefits of a lunch break, "you don't actually need to go eat," Elsbach says, "you just need to get out. And it doesn't have to be between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to have a positive impact. It can be just going outside and taking a walk around the block. That in itself is really restorative."
    Elsbach tells The Salt that her research has found that "mindless" work — which can include tasks like walking — can enhance creativity.


    Interview Highlights

    On why the lunch hour is disappearing
    The workday runs now from much earlier in the morning to late at night, and it's also not a standard 9 to 5. So ... when you eat or when you take a break to get some sustenance is not going to be the same [as it used to be]. Also, there's just this demand to be forever available, so people are reluctant to leave their desk in case they miss something. And so people are eating at their desk — if they're eating at all — and are just there for longer periods of time.
    On lunch breaks and labor laws
    People who are in more staff or line jobs that are unionized or regulated by labor rules, [those] are the people who are left taking lunch — because it's mandated. But for white-collar workers and managers it's not, and so they're the group who are least likely to take lunch.
    On making sure you take a break by creating a lunch culture at work
    It's tough. One of the things I think helps is ... creating a community around it. So you can set up an online forum where you say, 'OK, these are the different activities we're doing. There's one group that's going to meet and eat sack lunch outside. There's another group that's going to go for a walk around the local environment. There's another group that's going to go to a favorite restaurant.' And so you create community around it, and you're not doing it by yourself and being seen as the odd person out. ...
    You need to get the top managers to be part of this community of taking time off in the middle of the day to eat lunch, to go for a walk, to have a coffee break. They need to be included in the community and model that behavior for the rest of the workforce.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/201...d-for-business


    JA.com member #946 for LIFE!

  • #2
    Me tek whole heap a chicken today. Plus we have a visitor so the boss will.prob buy us lunch
    “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CeaBee View Post
      Me tek whole heap a chicken today. Plus we have a visitor so the boss will.prob buy us lunch
      dem never sey yuh fi carry more for lunch dem sey yuh fi tek more tile at lunch time...don't eat at your desk...go for a walk ..smell the roses
      When its hot in the jungle of peace I go swimming in the ocean of love.....

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      • #4
        I eat at my desk 90% of the time, but I close the door and watch tv, today I watched the housewives of atlanta...don't judge me!
        Psalm 27: The Lord is my Light and my Salvation whom shall I fear?

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        • #5
          Yuh suppose fi relieve yuh stress, not add more stress

          Originally posted by seemiyah View Post
          today I watched the housewives of atlanta...don't judge me!
          JA.com member #946 for LIFE!

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          • #6
            I guess it is bad because we should have some break after much time of working.

            Take time to read this too.

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            • #7
              I went for sushi yesterday... today went to a locsl pub... tommorow not sure...
              What nonsense! How can you have a revolution without shooting people ? Lenin 26th October 1917...
              If Christians go to heaven, I do not want to go to Heaven: Hatuey. 2/02/1512

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CeaBee View Post
                Me tek whole heap a chicken today. Plus we have a visitor so the boss will.prob buy us lunch
                CB not reading tings right enuh.

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                • #9
                  eat your lunch and then go outside and walk around. If it is not a good day to go outside then run up and down the stairs till your 60 minutes of lunch are over
                  If you don't fight for what you deserve, you deserve what you get.
                  We are > Fossil Fuels --- Bill McKibben 350.org

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                  • #10
                    Soh dat mean sey, afta dat yuh was pretty much done fi di day?


                    Originally posted by Wahalla View Post
                    ..today went to a locsl pub..
                    JA.com member #946 for LIFE!

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                    • #11
                      Unless smaddi call security, tinking yuh on di edge, an is about to go postal.

                      Originally posted by kia027 View Post
                      ...run up and down the stairs till your 60 minutes of lunch are over
                      JA.com member #946 for LIFE!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seemiyah View Post
                        I eat at my desk 90% of the time, but I close the door and watch tv, today I watched the housewives of atlanta...don't judge me!

                        Comment

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