To call it a working lunch hardly seems fair to what the meaning of a working lunch used to be.
More than ever employees across the board are skipping out on going out midday for lunch to stay in for a quick desk lunch bite that requires little more than a few chews before it's back to the grindstone. A study conducted last year by human resources consulting firm Right Management showed that 65% of workers will not only eat at their desk but also opt out of taking a break period. And while it has been proven in studies that taking a break is good for you in both improving your overall job performance and keeping morale high, it continues to get tossed to the wayside in favor of one little big word: productivity. Jobs are still scarce, duties keep piling up for short staffed companies, employees are coming in earlier and staying later to get as much done as possible and schedules are increasingly difficult to coordinate whether you plan on eating with a coworker or not. [More from Forbes: Time management secrets anyone can use]
The desk lunch does have an incredible allure to it of being within close proximity to your workload and without all of the time consuming extras of going out (i.e. waiting for a table, waiting to take a group order, waiting for the check) that the group lunch of old can't boast. Continuing to stay seated throughout the day may not only prove to be a health risk, but at the same time it may be your only option. A short staff, as the USA Today reports, doesn't get the option to relieve a worker for lunch and even if so, that relief may not fall within a time in which you're actually hungry at.
Avoid the risk of falling into the desk lunch zone with these tips that you'll make a break for. [More from Forbes: Basic steps towards work-life balance]
Turn Your Lunch Hour Into a Run
In Brisbane, Australia this is already well underway for executives ditching the office altogether to go running for 20 to 30 minutes with just enough time leftover to suit back up for the rest of the workday. Working as both a stress reliever and mood elevator, legal counsel Amanda Barbera refers to it as "the lunch-hour bolt" explaining that, "… it lets me make a quick snatch for the endorphins I'm addicted to. I find it easier to get away from work during lunch because everyone knows you're there for the day and you'll be coming back!"
Whether running alone or with a group or even just going outside for a walk, find a way to get outside at some point during your midday break. And now that the weather is slowly growing nicer, this is an even more appealing alternative to catch a few rays outside with. [More from Forbes: The happiest companies for young professionals]
Eat a Protein-Filled Breakfast
Should you have to take a regularly scheduled lunch hour at a time in which you don't feel hungry, eat breakfast before you head into the office in the morning. Whole grains and protein in particular will help keep you full for the day with additional healthy snacks in between including fruit, yogurt, and granola. I recently replaced our traditional office candy basket with a big jar of fresh fruit options for my employees- out with the 2:30 feeling and in with the Vitamin C!
Lunch in the Break Room
It may not be the furthest place from your desk but for a change of pace take your lunch in the break room. Be sure that the break room in question is also one that you'd actually feel compelled to walk into though and stay for awhile. Keep it clean, brightly lit, include a flat screen television if possible, have plenty of plasticwear and napkins on hand and the snack cabinets stocked. [More from Forbes: 8 easy tips to move more at work]
Take a Work Lunch Field Trip
If you work with a smaller team, surprise them by scheduling in a work lunch for everyone to attend. Close the office down for a few hours and enjoy a leisurely meal out at a nearby eatery. Not only will this be a pleasant change of pace all around, but it'll also be a great way for the office to spend some time just talking and relaxing for a bit. Work for the remainder of the day will be much easier to concentrate on and I'm willing to bet that it won't make you miss that "desk lunch" option one bit.