Food & Drink

Nobody Takes Lunch Breaks Anymore, and It's Hurting Everyone

Published On 03/11/2015 Published On 03/11/2015
Sandwich next to keyboard
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Did you scarf down a sad sandwich at your desk today, pausing work only to wipe one glistening tear off your cheek? Congratulations, friend, you're part of the depressing majority. Nowadays, only one in five Americans takes an actual lunch break, and that's not just bad for your morale -- that's awful for your actual output on the job.

Kimberly Elsbach, a UC Davis professor who specializes in workplace psychology, recently spoke with NPR's Here & Now about why this trend is so problematic. As she explains, the longer you go without a change of environment, the more your creativity suffers. So if you spend all day in your office, you're less likely to come up with a dynamite solution to that Q3 issue. Elsbach recommends getting outside for just a little bit each day to maintain your brain, even if you're only taking a walk around the block. "Mindless work" like eating a taco at a stand across the street or just strolling has actually been proven to enhance creativity, so the next time your boss gives you the stink eye for heading to the elevator, make sure to drop this on their desk.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and is currently pouring one out for the lunch hour. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.

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