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The Benefits of a Working Lunch

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Though breakfast is generally considered the most important meal of the day, it’s hard to deny how great lunch can be. Not only is it a welcome break from work, it’s the perfect time to re-energize and regroup. But can a working lunch be just as enjoyable?

In an article for Health Minute Magazine, Robby Slaughter, founder and principal of AccelaWork, discussed ways that individuals can simultaneously satisfy their appetites and productivity during a working lunch.

employee productivity at lunch

© Flickr user star5112

For your convenience, the entire article is reprinted below:

Any professional will concede the allure of the business lunch. A group of colleagues will often consider a meal out as a chance to step away from the office and socialize before returning to work. A sales professional will offer to buy lunch as a chance to get the attention of an elusive prospect, since “everyone has to eat.” Often, executives will head to a restaurant to discuss a deal, using the venue and the expense as part of a negotiating tactic. We all love to leave the office and eat out.

However, it’s clear that whether we go for fast food or fine dining, we are making a trade. It’s convenient to have someone else prepare our lunchtime meal and certainly pleasant to let someone else do the work for an hour. The meal we consume might be tasty but it is not necessarily healthy. The rush to get back to our desk or to stay within a prescribed break period might encourage us to devour too quickly. The lunchtime conversation might distract us from conscious eating. The meal also often costs more than one brought from home in a paper sack. Is it possible for a business lunch to be efficient, productive, cost-effective, and healthy all at the same time?

In order to answer that question with a “yes” we must be conscientious about how we eat and work at the same time. Just as we know that it’s not truly possible to divide our attention between two critical tasks at the same time, we cannot simultaneously have an important business conversation while eating a heavy, rich meal. If the deal is more important than the lunch, eat in advance and order something light. If you are dining out to try a new menu item, suggest to your dining partners a few minutes of silence to taste, chew, and swallow. Or, take turns putting down your fork and telling a story while the others listen and eat.

Remember too, that the chance to eat not only replenishes the body but gives the mind a break. The Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy reported that 36% of employees never stop to eat. Although working straight through lunch time might sound like the most productive choice, it’s actually the worst option available. Good health and good business requires balance. We all must work, play, and eat.

As Slaughter’s article shows, while lunch may only be one hour of the day (or less), it’s still important to think about your approach to it for productivity’s sake. Too heavy of a lunch and you may find yourself struggling to get anything done. Not eating enough could lead to a lack of energy and, you guessed it, struggling to get anything done. Some people may just think of lunch as an hour in the middle of the day, but that hour, just like anything else, matters for your organization. Being conscious of how you handle those important decisions is the first step.

Want to do better with all of your hours, not just the lunch hour? Contact our Indianapolis productivity consultants firm today to learn more about our views on achieving productivity and satisfaction.

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