The Art of the Leisurely Lunch Break

Put down the sandwich and walk away. Why you shouldn't eat lunch at your desk

Written by Mira Shenker

Are you reading this while trying to eat a hastily-made sandwich you brought with you from home, sweeping crumbs off your keyboard? Or maybe you’re using one hand to type, the other to eat an overdressed salad you bought around the corner from your office? You’re not alone. According to news site Quartz, roughly 67% of Americans eat lunch at their desks.

But, is that extra desk time really making you more productive?

Studies have shown that workers who take a lunch break away from the office are actually more efficient. In an interview with Fast Company, lecturer and financial-industry name Bob Pozen broke down the desk-lunch efficiency formula, showing that desk dining isn’t worth it because, for one thing, you miss out on alone time. Without time alone away from your computer screen or phone, you can’t think creatively. (Read about the importance of uninterrupted alone time.)

Sitting alone isn’t the only way to be productive while you eat. Pozen says sharing meals can be just as good, as it builds trust among co-workers, making you more effective as a team. In a story for Slate, Rachel Levy writes, “If you’ve broken bread with colleagues at lunch, it’s going to be easier to approach them in the professional sphere.”

But Levy isn’t arguing for lunchtime breaks because they fuel efficiency. She’s arguing for…just lunch. After spending four years in France, Levy came to realize that North Americans don’t know how to take breaks and enjoy their food. She believes that we should adopt the European practice of the long, leisurely lunch break.

If nothing else, taking a “French” lunch let’s you actually taste your food, which might lead to better food choices. If you’re not reading emails, and you have only that limp, corner-store salad to focus on, you may find that you don’t want to eat it anymore.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com