Lunch “Break”

From USAToday:

Are you seeing/experiencing this?

As general sales manager for Clear Channel Communications here, Mary George Meiners used to take leisurely lunches with clients and associates — until an increasingly busy schedule robbed her of the time.

Now Meiners usually just buys a sandwich and eats it at her desk.

“Everyone’s busier all the way around,” she said. “A lot of our clients are business owners, and they’re slammed; our media buyers are slammed. Everybody’s trying to be more productive.”

Recent national surveys underscore the change.

Only a third of American workers say they take a lunch break, according to a Web survey conducted last year by Right Management, a human resources consulting firm. The survey also found that 65% of workers eat at their desks or don’t take a break at all.

CareerBuilder, another employment consultant, found that less than one-fifth of executives surveyed ate lunch at a sit-down restaurant, about 40% take a brown-bag lunch and 17% eat fast food.

Lawyer Keith Hunter agreed that lunches with colleagues seem like a thing of the past.

“Years ago, partners would go to lunch with associates, make a point of saying, ‘Hey, let’s do lunch,’ not one but a whole group of lawyers, and I just don’t see it as much,” said Hunter, who works at the Zielke law firm….

Experts say taking an uninterrupted meal break is healthy, increases job efficiency and improves morale, benefiting both employees and their companies. Research on creativity and productivity “shows a lot of good stuff comes about when employees get away from their work and their desks, and smart managers and smart companies find a way to make that happen,” Sussman said.

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  • phil_style

    there are two reasons for eating sandwich at the desk;
    1. Being too busy to leave
    2. because your office is situated in an “office park” devoid of amenity or any kind of palatable urban landscape

    Fortunately I do not belong in group 2! But, up until about a month ago I had gotten into the terrible habit of just popping out for a sandwich and eating at my desk. I suddenly realised, as spring arrived that this precious one hour per day was just about my only chance to see the sun. Now I make sure I take a full hour each day, walking the streets of London. Last week I even managed to walk across tower bridge, london ridge, southwark bridge and the millennium bridge all in one hour, without breaking a sweat.

    It really is worthwhile getting out at lunch.

  • Kel Hahn

    I think the problem more tends to be that workers will take a lunch break, but stay at their computer to check Facebook, read the news, read Patheos…

  • scotmcknight

    Kel Hahn, that’s what I’m sayin’!

  • Kenny Johnson

    I notice it with my boss (and those above her), but I almost always take an hour break for lunch away from my desk. I also take two 15-minute breaks away from my desk nearly every day as well.

    Sometimes it pays to be a peon.

  • Dawne Piotrowski

    Ha ha! Today is one of the few days I am eating lunch at my desk (got to run to class in a few minutes) and what do I see on Jesus Creed but a post about the importance of taking time for relationships at lunchtime? Thankfully, I get to do that on a regular basis!

  • James

    I see it everywhere but in the govt. Our local post office, in fact, now shuts down for two hours for lunch. Two hours. You should see all the frustrated people who skipped their lunches to ship out business related packages when they see the signs. Oy.

    On the other hand, I was in Cambodia this summer and the general culture allows nearly 2 hours for people to go home and have lunch and a brief rest with their families. Even the school children go home for lunch. It was a great break in the middle of the day (I was there teaching all day), and yes, it made the afternoon much more productive.

    Sad things, we’ve known for years that we USAmericans are actually shooting ourselves in the foot with our practices like this, but instead of fixing them, we just keep digging deeper into the hole. The recession and job security fears have only made it worse.

  • DRT

    Lunch is just another hour in the day when meetings can occur. But, you reserve that time for someone with whom you want to make a more intimate connection, if you have good table manners…

    If you don’t have a meeting, I eat and work.

    But I am currently unemployed….but I still eat and work since I live on a farm and am now doing farm work (cutting down trees, repairing the barn, filling in holes in the pasture, planting the garden…) which leaves less time for patheos….. 🙁

  • Chip

    What I’m seeing as well is that people may not actually be busier but feel a greater need to prove that they provide value added to their company. It’s been said, accurately from my perspective, that it’s no longer enough to do a good or even excellent job; you must demonstrate that you can constantly adapt to changing situations and have the skills necessary to thrive in the new environment. When layoffs occur at your company every few months and hit all levels of the organization, a certain level of anxiety remains at all times.