The majority of UK employees say they aren’t always able to stop work and eat lunch for 20 minutes. Whether you’re entitled to 30 minutes or an hour, having a proper break can not only improve your mood but it is also shown to increase productivity. With such glaring benefits, finding the time to get out of the office is critical and even more enjoyable now that the weather is improving.
Finding the time
The biggest challenge most full-time workers have is finding the time in their busy schedules to take a real lunch break. When you have a big workload and you strive to leave the office at a reasonable hour, it’s easy to eat at your desk while working away. Here are a few tips to help you find the time for a mid-afternoon break:
- Plan! The simplest solution is to plan your day around your lunch break. Give yourself a timeline of activities to tackle each day and assess new tasks by their urgency as they come in. This means you shouldn’t be caught in the middle of task when hunger strikes.
- Communicate with your team – whether you simply need to block the time in your calendar or pop your head over the cubicle, letting your team know when you are and are not available will make taking a break much easier. Remember, you’re entitled to a break so don’t be afraid to tell everyone when you’ll be away from your desk.
- Experiment with different times. Taking lunch at the same time everyday might work for your schedule, especially if it works for the rest of your team as well. But often times your workload and meetings will dictate when you’re available. Try taking a break at different times of the day to determine what works best for you each day of the week.
Nearly half of employees say they rarely leave the office during their lunch break. Sitting in front of your computer while munching on a sandwich might seem like a more sensible use of your time, but there’s evidence to suggest that staying in during lunch can negatively impact your productivity and happiness. Here are a few ways to get out during your break, whether you work in a bustling city, quite town or empty business complex:
- Walk – no matter where you work, you should be able to find at least one place to stretch your legs, even if it’s just the car park. Exploring the area will not only give you a nice break from the office but should give you a few shops or cafes to check out in the months ahead.
- Eat outside. Often times bringing your lunch to work leaves you with little choice but to eat in the office. As the weather is warming up, find a nice place outside to sit and eat – a picnic bench, stoop or grassy patch will do the trick.
It’s claimed that 2:55pm is the least productive time of day. By taking a break away from your desk during lunch you’ve already set yourself up for a productive afternoon. Still, there are steps you can take to boost your focus and power through the 2:55pm slump.
- Picking a healthy meal for lunch can dramatically improve your energy levels. This doesn’t mean you have to force down carrot sticks and rice crackers, use resources such as Pinterest to explore healthy lunch options that will satisfy your taste buds and improve your afternoon focus.
- Get some exercise! Whether you go for a stroll or hit the gym during your break, getting your blood flowing can have a massive impact on the rest of your day. A regular workout schedule, in addition to promoting good health, has been shown to reduce stress and increase focus.
- Socialise – find a buddy in the office, or set up lunch meetings with people from across the business. This will force you to find the time for lunch and will give you a welcome break from work to socialise. By befriending your colleagues you could even give yourself a leg up in your career.
Make the most of the spring and summer months ahead by getting out and about during your lunch breaks!