Turns out eating lunch alone actually has some major career benefits

Taking lunch alone has often been frowned upon by coworkers and businesses alike, but it’s not as bad as you think.

Despite the calming nature of munching on a salad alone, whether in the office courtyard or at your desk, there are actually benefits to dining by yourself as opposed to being suckered by colleagues to sit together for an office-wide meal.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a column by Yale School of Management professor Marissa King, who dived into lunching alone, specifically finding that eating alone during lunch can help your productivity. King dived into a study by the Rottman School of Management that looked at how more than 100 employees spent their lunch over a two week period and wanted to know their energy levels at the end of the workday.

The study, published in the Academy of Management Journal, found that those who opted to lunch with co-workers were more fatigued by days end, as the same with those who worked over lunch. Workers who had to attend mandatory company-sponsored lunches were found to be more tired than those who decided to work through lunch, but employees who decided to lunch alone were most relaxed, according to the paper.

In short, it’s OK to sit alone and eat at your desk. Like anything else, there’s no perfect way to approaching how you spend your lunch. Some feel the burden of their work where they feel forced to work through their lunch, with a recent study finding that nearly 50% of workers felt a lunch would slow down their production.

The average American spends between 21-30 minutes taking lunch, according to data from staffing firm OfficeTeam, with more than 50% of workers spending their lunch surfing the internet or using social media.