Is the lunch break nearing extinction?

describe the imageWhether it’s due to the pressures of heavier workloads or the need to prove to your boss that you’re a hard worker hour-long breaks have deviated from the office culture norm. The truth is that less than half of employees get up from their desks to take a lunch break, according to a survey conducted by Right Management, the talent and career management division of Manpower.

Skipping this already diminishing 60-minute break may lead to unhealthy eating habits and can be more counter-productive than you think. This time is imperative to relieve stress, boost energy and recharge both mental and physical health. Exhaustion caused by a lack of breaks in the day can lead to “higher stress levels, poorer health and reduced productivity,” according to Douglas J. Matthews, President and COO of Right Management.

Some, like Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, say that the germ factor associated with eating at your desk is grossly unhealthy. “The desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times more dirty than your toilet. People turn their desks into bacteria cafeterias because they eat at them, but they never clean them. The phone is the dirtiest, the desktop is next, and the mouse and the computer follow.”

With these statistics, it may be time to log off your computer and find a seat in the cafeteria. For those of us that still can’t seem to find time for a lunch break, WebMD had some easy tips to improve your desk-eating habits:

    • Watch what you eat.
    • Bring your lunch.
    • Walk when you can.
    • Disinfect your desk.
    • Use a placemat.
    • Eat with a friend.
    • Don’t make it a habit.