On Friday, I had lunch with two friends, former co-workers, I hadn't seen in a while. It was so enjoyable that I wondered why I don't do it more often. Then, I remembered why. It's hard to give up a block of work time mid-day.
At some workplaces, having a lunch at your desk is the norm. Everyone does it. At a recent workshop, I met the executive director of Junior Achievement in Miami. She mentioned that her organization had built a nice lunchroom only to find most workers eat at their desks. She was bemoaning the loss of camaraderie, suggesting that the lunchroom is where workers get to know each other in a more relaxed setting and spark the informal relationships needed for teamwork.
Most of us are overwhelmed with our workloads. In the interest of work life balance, we want to get our work done and eat through lunch in order to leave at a decent hour. There's also the money issue. Years ago, all the staffers in my office used to go out to lunch together. We would share story ideas. Today, workers are brown bagging it to save money. According to Adweek, as much as 57 percent of Generation X regularly brown bags it to cut out a meal expense.
Lunch is going the way of breakfast," David Dinges, a behavioral scientist at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School told ABC News. "It's become part of the rat race."
We all know that when you work continuously, you get more fatigued and less productive as the day wears on. The quality of your work also suffers.
This summer, Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project, started a nationwide movement called Take Back Your Lunch Hour. It launched after Schwartz conducted a poll on the Huffington Post about the way Americans are working. Some 60 per cent reported taking twenty minutes or less each day for lunch. Almost 20 per cent took less than 10 minutes. One quarter never leave their desks at all.
Schwartz has invited workers the world over to reclaim that elusive mid-day break every Wednesday at noon this summer. With one more official week of summer in my town, I'm going to head out to lunch this Wednesday. What about you? Will you take back your lunch hour?