I’ve been there - you have so much work, you don’t want to get behind. So you think, “It’ll be less stressful if I eat at my desk and knock out some of these emails…Then I don’t have to think about it later!”
Okay, so maybe you don’t have that EXACT sentiment. Nevertheless, it may actually be counterproductive to spend those 30 minutes sifting through emails while enjoying a nice turkey sandwich.
First and foremost, your keyboard is not a place for your crumbs.
Ever look at your keyboard after a few months? I mean actually look at it? Try flipping upside down and giving it a wiggle. If you eat at your desk, chances are, it’s filled with bits and pieces of food that bacteria just love to move in with. Sure, you can clean it every so often. But with all that turkey, ham, hummus, salsa, dip, soup or crackers - is it ever really clean?
Your body needs to move!
Once again, I am urging you to venture on a Google quest (or Bing if you prefer). Look up, “sitting at a desk”. Did you find this article? Or maybe this one? The bottom line is, sitting all day is not what humans were meant to do. Some ergonomics experts even suggest moving around every 30 minutes. While not every workday may be conducive to this, shooting for every hour initially would be a great start. And what better excuse to leave your desk than to enjoy your lunch elsewhere?
You could be lowering your productivity.
Our creative juices start flowing when we change our environment. I was told by an instructor long ago that if you are stumped with a problem, try driving a different way to work or school. Your brain starts to break out of its normal routine and develops new patterns of thinking.
Additionally, you could be wearing yourself out minute by minute. We see it with clients who just have to get out of their work immediately. They may even feel their workplace owes them something because they always take lunch at their desk when other employees don’t. In reality, we are in charge of our work-life balance. Yes, there are toxic workplaces, but you are responsible for setting those boundaries - and sticking to them!
It should also be noted that people who are consistently innovating or bringing new value to the organization have been known to move up faster, make more money or even be recruited for bigger-better positions outside of it.
You should build relationships!
Remember what we always say about networking? Well, you can do that in your current workplace as well! Eating lunch in a community lunchroom, restaurant or cafe can help you build those relationships. If you have the time, go to lunch with a co-worker. Or walk to the cafeteria and eat with a group of them! You would be surprised how many people we know who get jobs through people they previously worked with. (Remember what we said earlier about being a recruiter for bigger-better?)
So remember, next time you are settling in for a nice desk picnic, consider unpacking it somewhere else and enjoy your break!