Who is considered the most productive worker at your office? Most commonly it’s the person who never sits down, that you never see in the break room or the one who eats lunch at his or her desk. This needs to stop. It’s a misconception and we’ll prove it to you. Who thought a long lunch could be the key to great productivity?
It’s a tale as old as time to think that the eager beaver never takes a break, barely eats and works all hours of the day. Sounds awful, right? The result of this isn’t just the terrible consequences for the poor beaver but also for all of us who don’t think we’re good at our jobs. The question is how we got here in the first place?
A toxic culture
This is the tricky part… Because the biggest reason we end up in these situations is actually managers or employers. We are all human and even employers sometimes have the idea that working nonstop is necessary for success. And when management has that attitude it often rubs off on the employees. In Sweden, every third manager skips lunch due to a high workload. And when other coworkers see this the idea spreads throughout the office which eventually results in a toxic culture.
Turns out that the lunch breaks increase productivity
Studies also show that taking breaks throughout the day increases your productivity. Especially the lunch break. Even though mathematically it can seem as if you lose time you will eventually save time by taking a proper lunch break. Stepping away from your desk helps you to clear your mind, regain energy and focus again. If you are expected to be somewhat creative in your position then recharging becomes even more important. Otherwise, we tend to dip by mid-afternoon and after that, we can see a decrease in productivity as well as creativity. So you see, taking a break actually makes you better at your job.
How to design the optimal lunch room
One step towards encouraging proper lunch breaks is to design a lunchroom or break room where people actually want to hang out for a while. But how do you do that then? Of course, we have gathered the best tips and advice for you:
Position: first of all, try to place the lunchroom as far away from the working area as possible. We realise that the ability to do this differs between companies. But just keep it in mind. Optimally you shouldn't see the desks from the breakroom.
Space: make sure you give your coworkers enough space. Everyone should have somewhere to sit and several people should be able to prepare their meal at the same time.
Equipment: see to it that everything you need to have to ensure a nice break is available in the room. A big refrigerator, a coffee machine, microwave, oven, sink with running water, soap, towels, knives, cutting boards etc.
Lighting: you need good lighting for prepping meals but make sure it's not too stiff. People need to relax in the break room.
Furniture: design the room with a mix of lunch tables and chairs and more comfortable options such as couches and armchairs.
Amusement: provide a mixture of amusements. Perhaps some board games or magazines. There should be options for those who want to socialize with others as well as those who want to be alone.
We wish you good luck in creating the optimal break space for your coworkers because as we explained - it’s super important. So, is it lunchtime yet?