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Dining at our desks – why it’s ruining productivity

Finding the time to leave your desk to enjoy a lunch break is often neglected by employees, due to their high-pressured jobs and busy schedules. Nick Hucker, CEO of Preoday, reveals how staff and employers can ustilise their lunch break and why pre-ordering lunch can make all the difference.

For office workers, the desk is increasingly used as a dining table, and the trend is causing problems for employers and staff that shouldn’t be ignored.

Research says up to 30 per cent of people feel as though they are too busy to take a proper lunch break due to working in a high-pressured environment that demands all of their time. It’s not surprising that this results in a negative cycle; if people are working longer hours, they are less likely to go home and prepare a nutritious lunch for the following day. Instead, employees rely on caffeinated drinks to see them through the morning and reach for unhealthy snacks later in the day.

There are obvious health implications associated with these poor eating habits, ranging from weight gain to high blood pressure and cholesterol. With employees feeling they are unable to take time away from their desks, the types of food being eaten can become a problem, as can a lack of movement. Sitting down all day increases the feeling of fatigue, reducing productivity, and leads to muscle, joint and back problems.

In 2017, the cost of workplace absences due to ill health totalled £18 billion; desk dining can have a psychological as well as a physical impact, both of which can result in unscheduled time off work.

“Research says up to 30 per cent of people feel as though they are too busy to take a proper lunch break due to working in a high-pressured environment that demands all of their time.”

While stress at work is nearly inevitable, it can be alleviated by taking a proper break. Without one, employees risk taking their stress home with them instead. Employers should look to provide a space for staff to leave their desk and eat while encouraging them to socialise with others in the team. Not only will this increase staff morale, it will help them produce better quality work post-break.

As an employer, if you want to get the most and best work out of your staff, encouraging them to move about and leave their desk is a good starting point, but there are other methods available.

Think about a staff canteen. Canteens enable employees to have a good meal, without needing to go outside and stand in line for it.

Moreover, new technologies like online and mobile pre-ordering platforms, powered by companies like Preoday, give employees the opportunity to order healthy lunches from canteens in advance. Consequently, employees that would normally skip lunch or eat unhealthily in a hurry throughout the day, can relax. Instead of wasting their lunch break queuing, they will know that a healthy meal is ready and waiting for them. Pre-ordering allows for better planning, it can be done on the commute to work or the night before at home, and it could put an end to desk dining, forever.