Most of the time, lunch doesn’t really feel like that big of a deal. If we’re able to take a lunch break, we generally feel glad, and enjoy a short respite from the craziness of the workday. Often though, we lunch at our desks, or on our feet, unable to take the time to sit down and eat, even just for a few minutes. Still though, what does it really matter? Well, here are a few surprising facts about lunch breaks that might inspire you to pay a little more attention to how you spend this time.
1. Lunch breaks help employees feel valued, and this might be a little extra important for female employees.
A recent study from TINYpulse of 400 workers seemed to suggest that women might care more about lunch breaks than men. It indicated that women who worked for companies that encouraged employees to work through lunch were more likely to want to leave their employer within the next six months than those who worked for companies where they were able to take lunch breaks.
Men, on the other hand, were more likely to intend to quit if they were given the break. The real reason for these results though could be that women generally feel less valued by their employers, and necessitating them to work through lunch was just one more straw on the camel’s back. Lunch breaks help employees feel valued, and this is a little extra important for women living in a culture that often makes them feel underappreciated.
Research has shown that creativity is heightened when people step away from the office and take a break, and this becomes increasingly important the more hours people work. Stepping outside for a lunch that involves a bit of time in nature can help people be more creative, which will allow them to find solutions to problems more readily. If companies, or individuals, wish to maximize their lunches, getting away from the office, and preferably spending a bit of time outside, might be the best way to go.
3. You may be legally entitled to your lunch break.
The U.S. Department of Labor provides information on the minimum length of meal periods required for employees in the private sector. A lot of states require at least a 30-minute break for employees within a shift lasting around eight hours. Meal and rest breaks are your right as an employee, so be sure you know the specifics of these laws in your state, and aim to follow them. They exist for good reason.
4. Even when we do take lunch breaks, they’re very short.
A survey conducted by OfficeTeam helps to illuminate the reality of the modern lunch hour. Not surprisingly, it’s not an “hour” at all. Nearly half, (48% of workers surveyed indicated that they take 30 minutes or less each day for lunch, and almost one-third, (29%) said that they work through their break. Office culture can sometimes make us feel like it’s a good idea to skip lunch, that it will help us get more done. But, in reality, taking a break instead could help you be more successful.
5. Working through lunch might not help you get home earlier.
It might seem like working through your lunch hour will allow you to get out of the office earlier. But that probably isn’t actually the case. We humans need breaks. If we don’t get them, our productivity is diminished. It’s counterintuitive in some ways to think that taking a break could help you get your work done more quickly, but lunch breaks make you more creative and healthier. They refresh your energy, and could lead you to be more productive overall. In the long run, taking a lunch break might just help you get more done in less time. And, that would be good for business as well as for individual workers.
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