Eight ways that taking a real lunch break can improve your work (and life)

Up your productivity, mental state, and more by prioritizing a midday pause.
Beautiful afro american young woman sitting at the desk in an office and eating lunch, using laptop at the same time. Iza Habur

This story originally featured on Working Mother.

Whether you’re at the office or working from home, the lunch “hour” is hardly a real reprieve. Most of us quickly scarf down a salad to maximize our daily output. In fact, a study by OfficeTeam, an administrative staffing company, found that 56 ­percent of employees who can take an hour for lunch actually take less than 30 minutes—and almost one-third admit to working while they eat.

If you’re worried that your new, solitary lunch isn’t quite the same break as grabbing a bite with colleagues, don’t: A November 2019 study by the Yale School of Management found that those who ate lunch with coworkers were as fatigued by day’s end as those who worked through lunch, while those who ate lunch by themselves were the most relaxed. So, step away from your computer and ditch the desk-side dining. Here’s why career, wellness, and productivity experts say uninterrupted lunch breaks are a necessity—not a guilt-inducing luxury.

Reason no. 1: Skipping won’t earn you any favors

Reason no. 2: Your brain works better

Reason no. 3: It’s a mood booster

Reason no. 4: You’ll get more done

Reason no. 5: It reduces distractions

Reason no. 6: You’ll be a less stressed parent

Reason no. 7: It’ll help balance your day

Reason no. 8: It prompts problem solving