Are you guilty of eating ‘al desko’? Only 3 out of 10 employees take a lunch hour. These findings from Bupa’s new research show that the majority of British workers are staying at their desks over lunchtime. But even though you might think this can help you get more work done, it could actually hamper your productivity.
Bupa found that almost half of workers feel their productivity levels hurtle downhill about 3pm and this causes a loss of nearly 40 minutes. If this is the case, why not take a 40 minute (or longer) break at lunchtime?
Not having a lunch break isn’t just harmful to your productivity, it could also be bad for your health. Research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Ksenia Zheltoukhova told Stylist magazine that “There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that taking a lunch break leads to better health and wellbeing and increased employee engagement.”
I’m lucky to get an hour for lunch currently, but in previous jobs I’ve had 36 minutes. Yep, pretty random but we had flexitime so could take longer if we wanted. I always take my full hour for lunch but I’m guilty of not always leaving the office. I tend to just while away the time on Twitter or reading. So although I don’t need encouragement to take a lunch break, I’d like to own it more.
Whether you need to unchain yourself from your desk or force yourself to make the time your own, this article is for you. Yes you could sit at your desk eating a boring sandwich while browsing Facebook or you could make the most of your hour to break up your day and come back to work in the afternoon feeling raring to go.
So without further ado, here are 6 things you could do to own your lunch break.
1 – Get some exercise
Whether it’s a lunchtime yoga class or just a walk around the block get your arse out of that chair and get your heart pumping. University of Bristol researchers made the discovery that those who get physical on work days are more productive, happier and suffer less stress. That sounds like a pretty good reason to me!
2 – Knit
Knitting can be very therapeutic. You can zone out and simply focus on what you’re needles are doing. Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one… Practice enough and you’ll be knitting your own scarves, jumpers and cuddly toys in no time.
3 – Learn a language
Fancy a bit of Spanish with your sushi? There are so many ways you can learn a language in your spare time. I’ve recently tried learning a little Dutch with FutureLearn that could come in handy when I finally make it to Amsterdam (one day!). Whichever language you want to learn you can probably find a course online or something you can download. Once you’ve got a few phrases down pat, you can start planning a trip to put your learning into practice.
4 – Have a beauty treatment
Use your lunch break for a bit of me time and treat yourself. Perhaps get a pedicure, pop in and get your acrylics taken off, indulge in an express facial or visit one of the many blow dry bars popping up around the UK. Getting the ultimate blow out will help you kill that important client meeting in the afternoon or it could be the perfect prep for date night, halving your getting ready time in the evening.
5 – Read up on what’s happening in your industry
All career girls know how important it is to keep up with the latest happenings in your sector. From the latest technology to new ways of thinking, a little bit of reading during your lunch break will help to keep you ahead of the game. When you’re in a meeting you can whip out your knowledge and suggesting ideas while referencing your reading.
6 – Go for lunch with colleagues
Getting out of the office and spending time socialising with your work mates is great for team dynamics. Have a conversation without your boss breathing down your neck and enjoy catching up on all the gossip. If you haven’t got time to eat out at lunchtime, pop out for a coffee or frozen yogurt instead.
Not taking your full lunch break entitlement could mean that you’re working an extra 19 days that you’re not getting paid for. If you had 19 days to do what you want with, what would you choose to do? Tell me in the comments below!