Why HR should bring back real lunch breaks

Employees who take lunch at their desks aren’t saving time – they’re sapping themselves of creativity, says one expert.

How many of your employees sit at their desks while they tuck into pad thai or tuna salad? It might not seem remotely out of the ordinary for many HR professionals but one expert says organizations will suffer if they don’t put an end to desk-dining.

"Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking," says UC-Davis Professor Kimberly Eslbach.

"It's also detrimental to doing that rumination that's needed for ideas to percolate and gestate and allow a person to arrive at an 'aha' moment," she added.

Despite Eslbach’s warning, an alarming 80 per cent of employees take lunch at their desk – the traditional break is on the brink of extinction.

Even so, Elsbach says HR professionals should staunchly encourage workers to get out of the building for a brief period every day – if not for lunch, then for sanity.

“It doesn't have to be between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to have a positive impact," she said. "It can be just going outside and taking a walk around the block."

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