When was the last time you went out with your co-workers or a client and had a relaxing lunch? If you’re like the majority of workers today, it has likely been some time since you've truly enjoyed a lunch break. Today's lunch break trend is more working lunch than eating lunch, at least according to a USA Today article examining the issue.
Some interesting statistics presented in the article, More workers work through their lunch or eat at their desks, include:
- Only one-third of Americans take a lunch break.
- 65 percent of workers either eat at their desks or don’t take a lunch break.
- 40 percent of executives take a brown bag lunch to work.
- Less than 20 percent of executives eat lunch at a sit-down restaurant.
What I find most interesting about this is that the working lunch appears to cover all levels of employees, from the entry-level worker to the head honcho. Everyone is busier and so the out-of-your-office, relaxing and ultimately rejuvenating lunch break that I remember taking when I last worked in an office is fading into oblivion.
While I can appreciate the viewpoint that today’s workers are trying to be more productive, especially given the unemployment situation, I don't think this is an entirely correct characterization of the situation. Productivity improves when employees take breaks and get out of the office, even if only for a short period of time.
I fear that the workplace attitude may be in the middle of a shift and that the working lunch will continue to be the norm, leading to less productive employees and possibly even burnout. I’m all for working hard and loving what you do, but part of succeeding in business, at least in my opinion, is knowing when to step back and take a deep breath — both literally and figuratively speaking.