Think Twice Before You Eat Lunch At Your Desk

After a year and a half of Zoom meetings, offices are reopening. Our laptops are no longer on our laps and our refrigerators aren't around for regular check-ins. This means that we're spending eight hours at our desk again — which may seem like a welcome change for those who have Zoom fatigue — but most of us are actually happier working from home.

According to a study by Harvard Business School Online in collaboration with market research firm City Square Associates, 81% of the 1500 professionals who were interviewed either don't want to go back to the office or prefer a hybrid model (via CBS19). "The past year has been difficult for everyone, but what's surprising is how well people feel they've performed at work, while at home," HBS Online's Executive Director Patrick Mullane told CBS19.

This may seem surprising, especially since most of us believe we're productive only if we're constantly multitasking. But taking breaks — and longer lunch breaks — might actually do you better than eating at your desk.

Longer lunch breaks during work can increase productivity

Research has found that taking micro-breaks during work can boost performance and overall wellbeing (via The Wellbeing Thesis). This may seem counterintuitive for those of us who prefer to take bites in between answering emails and phone calls; if we're not multitasking, are we getting anything done? But multiple studies, including Stanford professor Clifford Nass' study points to the fact that multitasking only interferes with our ability to concentrate and can even reduce the quality of our work (via NPR).

In addition to reduced productivity, sitting for too long can also increase your risk for diabetes and heart disease, even for those of us who typically include physical activity in our day (via MKLink). It can also increase stress levels, which can affect us in the long term. If you need another reason to get up and eat that sandwich, Jane Ogden, a professor in health psychology told Wired, "If you eat at your desk when you're distracted through working and you're not giving yourself a proper lunch break, then the food you eat doesn't fill you up as much." This means that you're too distracted to enjoy the food you're eating, too. Ultimately, terrible productivity and long-term stress do not seem like a great trade-off for a salad you don't enjoy eating. Consider this your sign to stand up, stretch and walk to your nearest deli.