Do you work at your desk every second of the day and watch crumbs pile up in the crevices of your keyboard, or do you schedule lunch dates to get to know your rolodex of contacts and the leaders at your company?
If you’re like most working professionals, you’re spending your lunch break at your desk and it is costing you your productivity and satisfaction. According to a survey by Philadelphia based career management and talent group Right Management, a whopping 80% of workers are attached to their cubicle during lunch. Additionally, 28% of more than 1000 workers surveyed seldom take any type of break for lunch. Those are thirty to sixty important minutes that could be used to enhance your career brand.
Next time you think about eating your homemade chicken and pasta at your desk, consider these 4 ideals instead:
Bonding with your colleagues breaks barriers.
You don’t have to socialize with your colleagues every day during lunch, but taking two or three times out of your week won’t hurt you; it may actually improve your work performance. When you get to know your colleagues, you become less self-conscious around them. You feel comfortable asking questions, even if you think it’s an elementary question that everyone in the company knows except for you. And when you can get your answers to questions quickly, you don’t have to be hovering over your work deliverables like a helpless bird spinning your wheels.
Looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame may lead to health complications.
Research shows that sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing, causing you to gradually decrease your effectiveness at work. It’s understandable that you have tight deadlines, but hunching over your keyboard for extended periods of time can have detrimental affects on your body structure. Slumping posture can cause back and neck problems–not to mention, it makes you look like a doubtful teenage girl who is getting ready to go on her first date. Let’s face it: if you’re in and out of the doctor’s office trying to relieve your back pains, you can kiss your future seat in the director’s chair goodbye.
Staring at your growing list of to-do’s can be very stressful and counterproductive.
In this digital fast-paced world of technology, you may feel the pressure to respond to emails within five minutes of receiving them. Chill out; those emails aren’t going anywhere, but you may notice a spike in your blood pressure when you’re swiftly typing away while trying to eat.
If you find yourself easily irritated with colleagues and your eyes rolling when someone gives you a call, it could be a sign that you’re under stress–and you need to control it immediately. Stress stifles your creativity, making you less likely to contribute during group conversations and it will take you longer to complete the most menial tasks.
Step away from your desk and get some air. Maybe even go to a nearby Toastmasters meeting to spruce up your public speaking skills. Use your Fitbit to track how many steps you walked. You’ll be surprised how fast those extra steps away from the desk can cause those stress wrinkles to fade away.
Leaving your desk to network will advance your career faster than putting in more work.
Do you ever wonder why the woman who seems to do less work than you got the promotion before you? You may be tempted to blame it on her modelesque figure, but the reality is she probably spent her lunchtime building relationships with leaders within the company.
Schedule time to meet and eat with the leaders in your department and in other areas of their company. Learn their story. Understand what drives them. Identify their greatest challenges. These insights will allow you to be intentional in the workplace. That’s when you will start to receive recognition. If you are able to provide solutions to complex problems that the company is facing, you won’ t be stuck behind your desk crunching numbers. You’ll have a team of people who’ll do that for you.