Updated: Apr 11
Yea, you read the title correct! We all should be breaking away from traditional lunch breaks but instead take that time to do something for us. That's not saying that grabbing a bite to eat isn't doing something for you or your choice to bring your lunch in from home but simply stepping away from norms is sometimes good. It could be as simple as running to the grocery store for either lunch and/or dinner or running back home to grab something you may have left early. Whatever your choice to do try to do it away from your desk. You are already spending 7-10 uninterrupted hours at work where you can't break away unless it's for emergencies, coffee and restroom breaks so why not do something different?! For me, breaking away from traditional lunch break norms is me not going to grab something to eat, sitting in my car or even taking a midday nap but stretching it a bit! I look at it as long as I've planned my workday correctly, picked the most efficient and least busy day of the week typically, Fridays and ensured that I knew how much time this task may take then I think it's okay.
A typical, lunch break falls between the hours of 11am - 1pm depending on your team, manager, company and personal preference. This is a time where an employee can take the time to reset their bodies as well as their minds now how they choose to take it is solely up to them. I know that there are some professionals who are only allocated 30-45 minutes lunch breaks but even in that small window, find some time for yourself.
On July 18, 2016, Paste Magazine writer, Lily Lou published an article, "This is What Americans are Doing During their Lunch Breaks" in which she reported Fooda conducted a survey of 500 American workers showing that not many people take full advantage of their full hours anymore. The survey reported 89% of people have and 55% of people regularly run errands on their lunch with people working in business, finance, legal services and technology to do it most compared to those working in manufacturing, construction and transportation.
So, my question is, "When people do run errands on their lunch break what are they really doing? Are these errands for themselves or for their family? Like venturing off to the barbershop, going to the nail salon, running to the local mall or even visiting an exhibit at a museum.
In the past, I've devoted a lot of my lunch breaks to either cooking at home, going out to grab something to eat and sometimes, even taking a ride in the car. If you work from home then you know sometimes, you can feel boxed in as you don't have much interaction with the outside world other than through zoom meetings, emails and text messages but one day this week, I decided to go to the Dollar Tree store with my mom. My intentions were to go grab one thing, but I ended up buying over 25 items luckily, I stayed in one section so that made it easier, and it saved me much time as my lunch break is typically only an hour. If you are anything like me, then shopping is a good therapy routine. Now, I would've waited until the weekend to make this run but instead, I wanted to do something different with my time. I found being able to browse very therapeutic for me. I was more energized therefore, more productive for the rest of the day. Now, I know a lot of people use their time for whatever they feel like but what about the remaining 11% and 45% of the workers who didn't report as running any errands during their lunch breaks. I wonder if they feel this mismanages the company time.
As a society that's constantly evolving with the needle moving forward every day and every year are we making the progress that's needed and if so, are companies going to see it and work to revamp how lunch breaks should be or will it be a revolving door until someone decides to get off and be the change we want and need to see? The way we view work has already changed and it has shown us that we can accomplish whatever it is to accomplish no matter how, where and when we work as our productivity relies heavily on our overall well-being.