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Why dining at your desk is really bad for you

19.2.2018

Not all workplaces allow people time for an hour or half an hour away from their desks at lunch. In addition, many of us think that we’re so busy that the only way we can stay on top of things is to eat lunch our lunch at our desks.

 

Dining at desk

 

But that’s not always as efficient as it might at first sight seem.

 

As it turns out, eating at your desk can actually cause extra stress and diminished productivity. That can seem counter-intuitive. Leaving your desk for lunch may seem like a route to reduced productivity. But making time for relaxation during the working day has been linked to heightened productivity.

 

Researchers at Humboldt University in Berlin explored the psychological consequences of meal situations, looking at how lunchtime eating circumstances affected thinking and emotional states. Half of their study participants ate alone in a simulated office and half went out for a leisurely sit-down meal with others. The lunch eaten in the office was eaten alone in a short period of time.  Those who ate out took time to select and eat meal in the company of others. They also had short walk back to the lab.

 

After the meals, researchers measured things like memory processes, cognitive control and error processing, and the processing of emotional facial expressions. The subjects also filled out a questionnaire ranking their mood. The researchers found that people who enjoyed the restaurant meal reported increased feelings of relaxation, and an improved processing of facial expressions — potentially increasing their creativity and connection to others.

 

Other studies, such as the surveys undertaken by Right Management and PLOS ONE, have shown that dining away from your desk come lunch time reduces the likelihood of work stress and burnout.

 

Sitting at your desk all day can be bad for health. Even a short break, spent walking to a local food outlet, or to a park bench to eat your lunch can help prevent weight gain. That  short burst of exercise will also help your brain produce more serotonin, a chemical known to be helpful in reducing stress levels.

Embracing mindfulness during your lunch hour

Becoming more mindful of how, what and where you eat is an excellent way to begin making a change to your unhealthy, ‘al desko’ dining habits.

 

Try dining away from your desk more often and notice your surroundings as you go.

 

For further advice on introducing mindfulness to your workplace, contact our team today to discuss your requirements.