We all get tempted. It seems like the perfect solution. By noon, there’s still always so much to get done. But of course, we get hungry and need to eat. Why not eat at our desk?
It’s a win-win situation, so it seems. But it’s not. The effects of eating at your desk are not beneficial. There are major reasons why you should avoid doing it.
1. YOU MISS OUT ON OPPORTUNITIES.
For most, lunchtime is not only a time to eat but also a time to regroup and remember that work is only one aspect of our lives.
Eating in the café with other colleagues gives you a chance to get out of your own head and talk to other people. It gives you the opportunity to build bonds and connections with your co-workers and team members.
And while many introverts may be thinking, “Umm, I would rather just keep to myself because I hate small talk,” having regular conversations with your co-workers will help build relationships that will make work more enjoyable for you in the long run. You’re bound to have at least one co-worker turn into a friend – and we all love friends. Don’t deny it.
Having regular conversations with your co-workers will help build relationships that will make work more enjoyable for you.
You may learn about how one of your co-workers started a meal prep initiative with her best friends or about how your executive assistant’s six-year-old son made her a PBJ sandwich and packed her lunch. Beyond that, you get to learn about the passions that motivate and inspire your team in and outside the office.
2. YOU CREATE BAD HABITS.
Eating at your desk frequently can either be a sign of high stress or bad communication skills. Whatever the case may be, both are to be avoided – like a plague.
If you are stressed all the time, it is even more important that you step away from your desk to eat your lunch, even if it’s for 15 minutes. If you would prefer to avoid unnecessary chatter at all costs, eating away from your desk and with your co-workers could help change your mentality and make you more comfortable initiating conversations with others.
Still, eating away from your desk is not for others. It’s for you. Getting away from your workload allows you to clear your mind.
If you insist on eating alone, you could eat at a time either earlier or later than the rest of your co-workers. This way, you gain the opportunity to get away from your workload and you get to enjoy your own company.
But don’t do this too often or you’ll give off the impression that you don’t like to be around others and others won’t feel comfortable being around you.
3. YOU SET A BAD EXAMPLE.
If you’re a manager of a team, this may be the most important reason to not eat at your desk. Your behavior subconsciously creates a culture that others imitate – it comes with the territory.
Eating at your desk signals to your team members that they too should eat at their desk. Sure, they don’t have to, and if they’re load is light, they may choose to eat in the kitchen.
But on that stressful day, when everything seems to be coming down on them, they’ll think back to how you handle stress and they’ll opt to eat at their desk too, while simultaneously drowning in their to-do list. Lead by example and show others how to handle stress in a calm and healthy manner by doing so yourself.
Lead by example and show others how to handle stress in a calm and healthy manner.
So just don’t do it, don’t eat at your desk. Sure, it may happen every once in a while. But on the days where you convince yourself that you must eat at your desk, make an effort to spend 10 minutes away from your desk later in the afternoon.
Take a walk around the office and chat with your team members, see how they’re day is going, or go outside and get some fresh air. It may all seem like small initiatives, but as we’ve heard time and time again: it’s the little things that have the most impact.