New research has good and bad news for America’s office workers: skipping your lunch break can hurt your work performance. While this suggests it is preferable for workers to make a point of taking their lunch (good news!), the fact remains that only one in five (20%) workers actually do it. Or at least in the way experts recommend. In order to enjoy the fully rejuvenating effects of lunch or a meal, research shows that taking a few minutes to eat at your desk isn’t enough.
Stepping outside of the building — whether that means eating lunch in the park or asking a coworker or two to join you for hot sub sandwiches — may seem like a simple or inconsequential gesture, but it’s not. Visiting some of the best lunch spots, stepping out for salads and sandwiches, or even taking a walk does wonders to boost creativity. “We know that creativity and innovation happen when people change their environment, and especially when they expose themselves to a nature-like environment,” University of California Professor Kimberly Elsbach tells NPR.
As it stands, managers and administrative workers are the least likely to get up and leave the office for lunch, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Oftentimes, these employees don’t necessarily have to adhere to specific labor laws, which can result in them not taking breaks or meals at all.
On the other hand, as workers begin to understand the importance of getting out of the office during break, other concerns come up. A growing number of Americans are trying to make health-conscious food choices, for example. And the good news is that you can do that while ordering popular go-to lunches, like deli sandwiches and hot sub sandwiches. Americans eat 300 million sandwiches every day, with turkey and ham being among the most popular choices. In a survey of 946 people, 14% chose turkey and 11% picked ham sandwiches as their favorite. Incidentally, these are also some of the healthiest choices. Additionally, more chains are posting calorie content right on their menus, and 15% consumers of already take advantage of this information, using it to reduce their meal by an average of 106 calories.