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Lunch it or Crunch it?

Do you arrive at work and plow through the day with barely a bathroom break? You might think you are getting more done, but at what cost?

With the employee cutbacks of the last few years, many employees are required to do more work in the same amount of time.

In response, some workers work through their meal break in order to meet deadlines. Is working non-stop for eight or more hours effective?

Kelly Switzer, Payroll Manager for KVL Audio Visual Services in Ardsley, NY says she makes an effort to take a lunch break during her work day. 

“I go to my car, break out my Nook and read” says Switzer. She added, “I need to walk away from my computer and telephone and just decompress.” When she returns to the office she feels she is ready to tackle the rest of the day. On the days when Kelly does not take a break her body lets her know it. “By the end of the day my neck is in a knot and if I do not have a headache one is well on its way.”     

Andrew Feldman, Senior Manager of Learning & Leadership Development, United States Tennis Association, concurs with Ms. Switzer.

“I do take a lunch break most days. I generally go to our in-building cafeteria where I sit with friends/colleagues for anywhere from half-hour to an hour. There are times I eat at my desk if I have several back-to-back meetings/projects going on, or if it's a crunch time of year, US Open, for instance.” 

Feldman adds: “Also, once or twice a week I play tennis at lunch from noon to one p.m. We have courts at work and are encouraged to use them to play tennis during lunch hour. If I play lunchtime tennis I then grab a sandwich to bring back to my desk and eat while working.” 

I asked Andrew if he feels stressed on the days he eats at his desk he chuckled and told me, “I'd probably phrase it as I'm more stressed on the days I skip lunch breaks because of whatever it is making me too busy to take lunch!”

Although you may have work piled high you should still step away for at least thirty minutes. Taking a meal break will actually increase your productivity and efficiency. You will get more work done when you include a break in your day. 

Go for a walk, go to the gym, take a ride or have lunch with a friend. Do something to de-stress. 

While you are doing that I am going to brush the crumbs off my computer and send this article to the editor. 

Lisa Buchman January 08, 2012 at 02:38 AM
My computer has had its share of crumbs and food stains when on a deadline. However I have found that my head is clearer and I can focus better after a break—whether for a bite or a walk. I try to leave my phone behind, too. At least a couple of days a week! Do others have a hard time unplugging, even for a half-hour?

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