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How Important is Your Employees' Lunch Break?

The answer is: very important.  

A lunch break is important for physical and mental health," says psychologist Frank J. Sileo, executive director for The Center for Psychological Enhancement in Ridgewood, N.J. "Studies have shown that taking a lunch break can reduce stress. Time for relaxation away from work has also been correlated with heightened productivity and creativity."  

According to a recent survey by OfficeTeam, a global staffing service, nearly half (48%) of U.S. workers said their typical lunch break lasts 30 minutes or less. However, experts say that lunch breaks should ideally be at least 30 to 45 minutes—and strongly advise spending that time away from your desk.  

"When eating at a desk, it does not really constitute a real break from work and may involve doing a host of work-related tasks such as answering the phone and responding to emails while eating," says Sileo. "Eating at your desk may also lead to overeating, because when you are working at your desk you may not pay attention to what and how much you are eating."

Aside from eating, beneficial activities for workers to enjoy during a lunch break include taking a walk, working out at the gym or going to a quiet room to practice yoga or meditation, says stress and mindful living consultant Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of The Mindful Living Network and The Stress Institute.

However the time is filled, it's best to keep lunch breaks under an hour. "Too long a lunch can be counterproductive since it will take too much time to get back to focusing on the work at hand," Salerno, M.D., director of The Salerno Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City, says.

If your employees are not able to take lunch or dinner breaks during busy times, consider ordering food for them to the office to make the workday smoother. "If the team is experiencing an especially hectic period, having lunch or dinner brought in may be a nice gesture," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "People may not feel like they have time to leave the office, but management is making it easier for them to take a break to eat."

The bottom line: Fight the pressures of the day-to-day and give your employee’s minds and bodies the much-needed reprieve from the hectic workday. You'll likely find that their performance and overall happiness will improve!  

Article Reference: http://www.mainstreet.com/article/career/why-taking-lunch-break-can-boost-your-career?page=1

Posted by Tara Hill at 9:22 AM

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