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Why the Rise of Desktop Dining is Slowing Killing You

Kahli Martin
Thu, Jul 28, 2016

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Let’s face it, during the hours of 9AM-5PM, we are all pressed to accomplish the many tasks on our to do list and as sitting in front of the computer has become commonplace, it’s likely you’ve fallen victim to the rise of desktop dining.

It appears the majority of the American workplace agrees with Gordon Gekko when he says, “lunch is for wimps,” in the 1987 movie, Wall Street, due to the fact 83% of Americans regularly eat at their desks. This trend is now referred to as ‘desktop dining’ and it’s become the “go-to” for many working professionals in order to multitask and conquer all the emails, phone calls, and other various tasks that pop-up throughout the day.  

Let’s explore why desktop dining is bad for you:

  1. Social Necessities - Eating at your desk negatively affects workplace culture as it does not promote collaboration or social interaction - both of which are contributing factors to your happiness and overall productivity in the workplace.
  2. Chew Your Food - If you believe scarfing down lunch at your desk and racing back to emails as soon as you are finished is productivity at it’s finest, think again. Research shows that this habit enhances the likelihood of you experiencing a crash half way through the afternoon – hindering your ability to accomplish anything!
  3. Expand Your Comfort Zone - If you stay in the same environment for too long (aka glued to your desk) the walls will feel like they’re closing in on you. This is obviously not good for your state of mind and will begin to wear on you over time.
  4. Sloth Mode Activate - The longer you sit, the harder it becomes to get motivated to get up and move around. According to Harvard Health Publications, too much sitting has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to heart disease and diabetes. So, if you feel like you’re wasting away in your chair, don’t second guess it!
  5. Brain Ischemia - A study at Newcastle University found that without movement, muscles pump less fresh blood and oxygen through your brain causing slowed brain function.
  6. Workplace Germs - Sure, it’s always great to save a few extra bucks and bring lunch into the office but think again as this may be making you sick. A study by the University of Arizona found that the average desktop has 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more than the average toilet seat. Gross!

If you have empty wrappers at your desk, and your keyboard has more crumbs on it than a toaster tray, it’s time to take advantage of the following tips to save yourself from the consequences of ‘desktop dining’ before it’s too late!

  1. Make Healthier Food Selections – stay away from the vending machine, sure, we all love cookies but choose foods that will supply you with energy to avoid the afternoon crash. Remember, convenient foods aren’t always the healthiest foods.
  2. Switch It Up - Switch your desk position or move to a different location around the office. You will be amazed at how facing the sunlight instead of a blank wall can increase your productivity.
  3. Get Up & Get Out - Take a few minutes and step away from your desk. Eat your lunch outside, grab a book and read for a few minutes or take a short walk with a co-worker to inhale the fresh air and give yourself a mental break.
  4. Make a Date - Grab lunch with a coworker to catch up and strengthen your relationship. Trust me, you’ll walk away feeling refreshed and plus, it’s always nice to know what’s going on in your co-workers lives.
  5. Take Your Time - Prevent your focus from fading and take at least 30 minutes to give your body the necessary sustenance to power through the afternoon, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Call me crazy, but work can wait. Take your health and well being into consideration the next time you think of working through lunch or plowing down your turkey sandwhich in less than 4-minutes. You’ll be shocked by the impact such little changes can have on your success and the future of your career, but you’ll never know unless you try.

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