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Failure to Lunch – Why eating at your desk is not only bad for you but also your business!


The temptation to dine ‘al desko’ is becoming more and more common place. The lines between workplace and social space blur due to the ever more popular coworking environments appearing all over the country.

Besides the horror of crumbs that gather between keyboard cracks, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t be eating lunch at your desk. Here are our top three which should be enough to convince you to take full advantage of your lunch break:

1. Physical Health Benefits Casually grazing in front of your screen leads to increased calorie consumption and staying seated for long periods of time can lead to tension in your muscles and soreness in your joints. If you absolutely must stay at your desk, don’t forget to do a few stretches and exercises to help counteract the effects of sitting all day.

If you can get away, try walking to a designated breakout space, local park or nearby café even if it’s just for 20 mins. How about some office yoga, or just taking a few trips up and down the stairs instead of taking the lift? Your body will thank you in the long term!

2. Improved Mental Health A change of scene is as good as a rest.

Rather than responding to email or taking calls while you refuel, try stepping away from your work, it will make it easier to recharge your batteries and should help your productivity.

Why not dine with your coworkers? Researchers have found that employees who interact during lunch breaks improve each other’s mental well-being. The benefits of socialising are similar to those of exercise: Your stress and blood pressure levels tend to decrease and in turn you should begin to feel happier.

3. A More Hygienic Workplace Eating at your desk not only can create a mess, but also your keyboard can become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

“Desks have 400 times more bacteria than toilet seats,” says WORKPLACE's Operations Director, Martin Wells, “You wouldn't accept poor hygiene in your own home, so why has it become acceptable in the workplace?”

At WORKPLACE we offer professional decontamination and technical cleaning of individual PCs which helps safeguard your business, reducing the risk of outage or downtime and the high cost of business interruption. But this alone shouldn’t be relied on to keep your staff safe and healthy. It should merely be starting point on which to build from by encouraging your workforce to know what is acceptable and what is not.

Companies can make it easier Recently, Canadian-based company CBRE Ltd. introduced a new company policy that banned eating at your desk.

The result? Employees felt more productive throughout their work day. The policy was also combined with a "clean desk" mandate, that meant employees had to clear extra papers and clutter from their desk at the end of each day.

As a part of the company's efforts to be International WELL Building Institute certified, they banned eating at desks in an attempt to create a healthier environment for its workers. The certification requires employers to encourage staff to socialise at seating in break or lunch rooms that accommodate at least 25% of staff. The certification also includes adjustable standing desks, plenty of natural light, noise cancellation systems, and fresh filtered water systems.

Whatever motivates you and your colleagues to get up out of that chair come lunchtime, it's important to make it a part of your daily routine. Start today and let us know in the comments section how you’re getting on!

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