The beauty of working in a co-working space is that you can set your own rules when it comes to taking a work lunch break. The downside is, most people don’t.
With just 28% of Aussie office workers taking a full, regular work lunch break, and the majority of people eating lunch at their desk, it’s time to ask; what’s happened to the long-lost lunch break?
The truth is, we all know that taking a dedicated lunch break is good for us. But we’re still not doing it often enough.
Whether it’s due to too high a workload, crappy company culture, or just bad habits, it’s time to take a look at what a lack of lunch and leisure is doing to your day.
If you need one reason to take a lunch break, here are a few:
Ever heard the phrase ‘Work hard, not smart’? Taking half an hour to give your body and brain the chance to rest, re-energise and reignite is a smart idea. The notion that the amount of hours you put in equates to the work that you get out is actually counter-productive. Giving your brain a break allows you to return more focused, with improved memory and better decision making. It also allows you to better manage stress, so you can take on any challenges the afternoon presents with a clear head.
Taking the time to eat purposely, rather than rushing your food down, gives your body the opportunity to refuel and keep your blood sugar levels steady for the afternoon. Because we all know that 3pm sugar craving all too well. Enjoying a gentle walk after eating can also aid with digestion, saving you from a post-lunch slump.
Leaving your chair at lunch helps stretch your spine and muscles, releasing pressure and eliminating discomfort from your joints. Getting up, changing position and moving counters the effects of enforced immobility from sitting down. Want to feel really good? Raise your heartbeat for 30 minutes by scheduling in a run or fitness class. We even have showers at Sustainable Valley so you can freshen up after.
Whilst we’re lucky enough to enjoy solar-powered air conditioning in our space, grabbing some fresh air and connecting with nature through the day offers a welcome change in environment that can really refresh your day. The beach is one of the best places to find solace during a stressful day – whether it’s on the sand or in the surf!
Reminder: we are humans, not robots. Moving away from your desk and making yourself more ‘socially available’ opens you up to conversation and interaction from your fellow friendly peers, which can really turn your day around. Our outdoor area is a great place to relax and dip in and out of casual conversation whilst soaking up some sunshine.
Now you’ve been convinced that taking a proper break has its perks, here are a few tips to get you started:
Desk munchers, we see you. As tempting as it is to try and wrap up that presentation between mouthfuls of quinoa, being physically away from your desk creates a disconnect between work and ‘not-work’ time, and provides a momentary digital detox. Take your food outside or to a different part of the office, and enjoy every mouthful mindfully.
Now we’ve got you away from your desk, we have a real challenge for you. Leaving your phone, tablet or laptop behind. Whilst it may be tempting to sneak in a scroll whilst you tuck into your sandwiches, this doesn’t give your brain the escape from stimulation it truly needs. If you must reply to a message and upload a snap, make sure you still allow yourself enough time to rest your eyes and mind before clocking back in.
It’s easy to ignore the faint rumblings of your stomach and the corner of your eyes twitching when you’re face first in a client proposal. Choose a time each day to put down your pen, push back your chair and commit to a scheduled break, even if it’s only for 15 minutes initially. Committing to a lunchtime class, regular lunch date or group meditation can help you stay accountable and add a social element to your day.
If you’re not quite ready to leap into full midday extracurricular activities, compromise by allowing yourself the time it takes to eat your food or walk to your local cafe to be away from your desk. Slowly bring a weekly class or cycle to the beach into the equation, and you’ll begin to feel more comfortable clocking out from work for a period of time.
If you’re working as part of a team or sit amongst a group, make lunchtime a social occasion and encourage a lunch break together. We can often feel guilty leaving the room when everyone else is knee-deep in their work, but setting the precedent for a dedicated break can help others break out of bad habits and reset your company culture. You could even find someone with a shared passion for surfing, yoga or a Santos tofu pocket and start looking forward to your break in your day!
The best way to test whether taking a full lunch break will make a difference to your day? Giving it a try yourself. Do you feel more productive? Are you more focused? Do you find it easier to switch off that evening?
If you have any additional tips to add, let us know in the comments below!