• Susie Wilson

You Should Avoid Eating Lunch at Your Desk


Susie Wilson, worldwide etiquette expert


Although your office setup may look quite different from just a few years ago—you might be working from home, or your workplace may have an entirely new configuration to keep germs at bay—you may still feel the pull to “work through” lunch by juggling your salad and your laptop at your desk. Perhaps you have a deadline and aren’t sure you can spare a few minutes away (more on that later), or you’ve simply gotten in the habit of dining at your desk. Whatever the reason, please allow today’s post to serve as a friendly reminder to prioritize yourself (and your health). You’ll feel better overall—mind, body and spirit—by taking a well-deserved break from the glaring screen and Teams notifications. Keep reading for a handful of reasons to avoid eating lunch at your desk. Physical Movement Helps Your Health Taking breaks throughout the day is always beneficial, but eating lunch at your desk means staying seated for a longer period, and prolonged sitting is linked to everything from heart disease to high blood pressure. You are also “distracted-eating’ by ingesting foods that are probably not best for you and then not properly digesting them.

Decrease Brain Fog Working through lunch on a regular basis draws on the pool of psychological energy. We only have so much energy we can utilize, and according to a recent study by John Trougakos, there are definite diminishing returns associated with not taking a proper lunch break. Mindlessly eating empty calories instead of a healthy meal can also affect your health and your healthy weight. If you feel you must eat at your desk on occasion, choose foods that are brain-friendly such as:

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Fresh fruit

  • Leafy Greens Fish

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Oats and grains

Boost Employee Morale As a manager, your actions set the pace for the team. If you typically power through lunch and fail to take time for yourself, employee morale may suffer. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Ruchika Tulshyan writes, “When leaders take breaks and make it known that they’re protecting that time, employees feel empowered to do the same.” Tulshyan goes on to say the goal is to “make it okay to leave your workplace (remote or not) and take a break, whether that’s to eat, exercise, or go for a walk.” If you’re working remotely, don’t forget to hit the “at lunch” notification. Socialization and a Change of Scenery Use the 5 to 6 hours of weekly lunchtime to your advantage. Getting along with your coworkers makes the office workspace a more pleasant and productive environment. Make an effort to go to lunch or eat in with them a couple of times each week. Run errands you are stressing about, go for a walk, meditate at the park or find something to do that allows you to step away from your desk for a while. Virtual Is No Exception The same rules still apply if you work virtually from home or have a hybrid schedule.