Why you should stop Taking Meals at your Desk

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Introduction 

Our mind needs a break from sitting in front of a computer all day. Eating lunch with our coworkers or even just chatting over a cup of coffee is the best way to get to know them personally and professionally. 

Taking a lunch break away from the desk allows us to work more efficiently. While working or using the internet while eating may seem beneficial, we’re actually doing more harm than good to the work and ourselves.

Even though we all know it isn’t good for us, many still have lunch at our desks. Despite the growing number of workplace wellness initiatives, most of us find it difficult to avoid sticking at our desks during lunch to send a few more emails.

Spending the entire day at the desk can lower productivity and raise stress levels. Long duration of sitting can also lead to various health problems, such as leg problems, back pain and an elevated risk of heart disease.

Standing up occasionally and moving the body is required for physical and mental wellness. 

Reasons to stop eating meals at the desk 

Hygiene 

We often believe eating lunch at our desks will save us a few minutes. The truth is that food particles like crumbs and other small pieces can get stuck inside the keyboard, where they can act as a breeding ground for bacteria

Usually, a worker’s desk has hundreds of times more bacteria than a toilet seat, states a study conducted by University of Arizona. If a person eats at their desk, germs can be present, and they could become ill. 

Brain fog 

It can certainly seem like a smart idea to grab a quick sandwich and eat at the desk when we have a lot of work to do. One must walk around to pump fresh blood and oxygen to the brain.

Besides, there are limitations to how much an individual can accomplish in a day, and skipping breaks doesn’t change those limitations. There’s only so much psychological energy we can expend in a day. This psychological energy is the source to regulate behaviour, function and focus. We lose efficiency in everything we do when that energy source runs out. 

Eating at a desk can create this brain fog and make us blank when we are too immersed in work and do every activity at our work desk. 

Decreased productivity 

Multitasking has adverse effects on mental health and can add stress to work. It lowers productivity and decreases the motivation to perform work.

Multitasking is less efficient than focusing on one item at a time, regardless of how skilled one can be at managing to drink coffee, eating a salad and continuing to read and type at the same time.

Even while we may think we’re great at multitasking, we actually struggle. Since deep work is necessary for quality work, deep work is free from distractions.

Increased health risks 

While eating lunch at the desk, we tend to sit for a prolonged time, and chronic sitting has several negative impacts on health. 

Prolonged sitting increases the chance of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Since sedentary muscles don’t respond well to insulin, it might cause the pancreas to work on overdrive, leading to Diabetes and other disorders. In other words, if we don’t get up from our desks for lunch, we can end up taking much more time off from work in the long run due to health effects.

Stress 

It goes without saying that working may be stressful, but eating lunch at the desk might exacerbate the situation. An individual will experience increased degrees of burnout and exhaustion if they don’t take the time to unwind and recharge.

Taking a break to unwind can greatly increase productivity, so, grab lunch and stay at a calm place away from the desk, or take quick walk outside.

Interacting with coworkers

Coworkers may or may not eat lunch together depending on the culture of the workplace, but if it’s standard procedure there, use lunch to establish relationships with coworkers. Schedule a meal with friends if coworkers don’t eat lunch together. Lunchtime is an effective way to interact with team members and build rapport. It can turn out to be a fun time!

Changing the focus of our brains

A change in the scenery focuses the mind on a different environment rather than the task at hand—responding to emails or chat messages.

Break from work 

While eating lunch at the desk may feel like a break to us, it isn’t a break for our eyes or mind.

No matter what content we are viewing, we’re still staring at a screen. This still causes the eyes to get tired from the glare and strain. The mind isn’t free of the continual tab flipping and diversions. One has a chance to regroup and relax by taking a break and gathering other coworkers to enjoy lunch outside.

We can get to talk to people, get some exercise and spend time among people rather than computers, which will leave us feeling rejuvenated and ready to finish the remainder of the day and tick everything off our to-do list. On eating lunch at the desk, the rest of the day will be long and tedious, with no opportunity for a necessary break in sight.

Sore joints 

In addition to long-term health issues, eating lunch at the desk may cause us to experience severe pain. The muscles may tense up, and the joints may become sore if we remain seated for an extended period while staring at the computer screen. 

Chronic sitting weakens the hip and core muscles along with other parts of the body.

A few stretches and exercises can counterbalance the negative effects of sitting all day if we work the whole day from the desk.

Safety of your devices 

We place great importance on the security of our electronic equipment, particularly during a lockdown when having them fixed or replaced will be difficult. 

Having food at the desk endangers electronic equipment while eating at the desk. Drinks and food can spill on the electronics, rendering them inoperable. Eating at the desk is not a wise idea because it’s necessary to keep food, and especially drinks, away from all of the electronics.

Mind refreshing 

We need and deserve a break from work. Despite the fact that we are still working hard, it’s important to give our body, mind and eyes a brief breather by scheduling time for lunch. 

It is necessary to get up from the desk, even for just 10 to 15 minutes, take a short stroll, and eat somewhere other than where we work. Our focus will improve after this break.

Here are some additional suggestions to help us stay safe when having lunch at our desks.

  • Plan a get-together with friends – Eating lunch at our desk isn’t a good idea, but replacing it with a business lunch isn’t much better. To fully recharge and be more productive at work, schedule meals with friends or by yourself instead. 
  • Create a culture of taking breaks – Taking a break is beneficial to health. Employees will be happier and more productive in a setting that promotes breaks. A company can make sure that their office has a suitable break area. 

Conclusion 

Taking a break and eating away from a desk and electronic device may cost a little amount of time now, but it will ultimately save us more time due to the productivity boost one will experience from recharging their body and mind.

Lunch is a fantastic networking and relationship-building opportunity. It’s not great for our health or the waistline to mindlessly eat whatever is available. Choosing another place to eat prevents mindless snacking and greatly improves productivity. The desk also becomes messy with doing multiple tasks in the same place. Therefore, it might be time to reinstate a genuine lunch break.

FAQs 

Is it unprofessional to eat at your desk? 

Eating food that will annoy other employees, such as food with a strong odour or that is messy to consume, is improper office etiquette. Eating at the desk is unprofessional since it is always better to concentrate on one task at a time. 

How do I stop eating at my desk? 

Ways to stop eating at the desk.
 
1. Make preparations in advance. Choose meals that make you look forward to eating, and choose a place where your mind is peaceful.
2. Eat with friends and make it a fun time.
3. Snacks should be kept out of sight.
4. Practice mindful eating.
5. Get help and manage work in the remaining time.
6. Think about other aspects of your health

Why should you leave your desk for lunch? 

Taking a lunch break away from the workplace and work desk is beneficial to boost energy and reduce exhaustion. The muscles and brain receive oxygen on moving the body. A person tends to think more clearly when these muscles receive more oxygen.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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