productivity; time for breaks; focus

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Our precious summer has, at last, arrived. And that means one thing: it’s patio season! People break free from the office to soak up the sunshine and reconnect with friends. But far too many people continue to chain themselves to their office, reluctant to leave their desks at lunch.

There are several reasons why you need to leave your desk at lunch. Here are five good ones.

  1. Breaks drive productivity

Too many people work through lunch because they think it will make them more productive. But the opposite is true. Taking a break allows you to release stress, refuel your energy and come back to work more focused and effective.

  1. It’s hard to network alone

Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, claims the one thing that differentiates highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships. And clearly, relationships are built when people connect on both professional and personal levels. Lunch is the perfect setting for fostering these connections.

  1. Sitting too much puts your health at risk

We often hear sitting has become the new smoking. And it has been associated with an alarming list of health issues, aptly illustrated in this Washington Post article. With recommendations for people to sit no more than four hours a day, we should all be looking for excuses to get up and stretch our legs.

  1. Fuel creativity

Our brain is a muscle and performs best when we pump fresh blood and oxygen up to that region. Moving your body and getting some fresh air heightens creativity. As well, taking a step away often allows you to see things in a different way, which might just prompt the answer you are looking for.

  1. Be more hygienic

The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Ewww! If we simply consider personal hygiene, eating lunch away from your desk is a good idea!

Of course, the ultimate goal of a lunch break is to allow you to refuel. And according to University of Toronto professor John Trougakos, the key to this is the employee’s right to choose when and how they spend their time.

I hope this list helps you choose to give yourself a well-deserved break. If you are already taking regular lunch breaks, please share your tips below.