According 20 years of polling data from Gallup, lunch is slowly dying off in the American workplace. In the 1990s, Gallup found that most American workers took at least a 30-minute lunch break each day. By 2012, only about one-third did so. Now fewer than 20 percent of American workers report regularly taking any lunch break at all, and 67% of all workers report eating one or more meals at their desk each week.
Why is this? In part, it’s the stress that comes with a jobless economic recovery: The economy bounced back, but with little corresponding job growth, many workers are gripped in a compulsion to perpetual look and feel productive.
Ironically, according to a recent whitepaper released by CBRE and the University of Twente (Amsterdam), improved nutrition and active breaks (where workers step away from their workspace altogether) bring a 20% to 45% bump in performance. More importantly, worker’s see an even bigger bump in emotional welfare:
- 78% reported feeling more energized
- 66% happier
- 52% felt healthier
In other words, despite the image of the “top performer” who “powers through lunch” and thrives on “caffeine and stress,” real top-performers are taking a mid-day break to recharge and feeling good about it.
But the harder nut to crack is the second factor killing lunch: Time. The median American lunch break is just 21 to 30 minutes long. On that schedule, you can forget about running out to grab a value meal; in many workplaces, employees hardly have enough time to wait in line, microwave their Hot Pockets, scarf them down, and get back to work.
Tags: breakroom, employees, hot logic, lunch, make ahead meals, microwave alternative, stress, wellness, working lunch