Breakfast has been deemed the “most important meal of the day” and dinner is rarely neglected; being the meal people look forward to after a long day of work. With that being said, there is one meal that is often overlooked and most people tend to skip it without second thoughts: lunch. Why do so many people skip lunch? Seeing as it falls in the midst of the work day, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of work and forget about lunch completely. Brushing off lunch, however, could pose more negative ramifications than you think. Making time for a lunch break is just as important as breakfast and dinner.
Daniel Pink, Author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing knows all too well about the importance of managing your time and getting your essential meals in. Daniel states “While breakfast is essential for a balanced diet, Pink makes the case that lunch is more impactful to the body. Lunchtime is restorative to the body since it’s a break that has components of work detachment and autonomy.”
Businesses are also recognizing the significance of taking a lunch break; some going the extra mile to ensure their employees have the sufficient time they need to fit in an important meal. Lisa Fulford-Roy of CBRE discusses The Clean Desk Policy which aids in creating a clean, organized, and efficient atmosphere; whether you’re eating lunch or getting work in!
When did you start the initiative?
The Clean Desk Policy is put into effect every time we complete a workplace transformation of any Canadian office. The first office overhaul and Clean Desk Policy implementation was in Vancouver in 2015 and the policy is now in place in 10 offices across the country.
What was the impetus for starting this movement?
- By aligning new policy with new space we were able to create a different and dynamic work experience and better outcomes for employees and clients
- The Clean Desk Policy aligns with our WELL Certification goals and general workplace goals
- Reduction of clutter in the workplace can reduce stress, helps with organizational efficiency and contributes to our goal to reduce paper
- Restricted eating at the desk reduces the health risks associated with surface bacteria at the desk, reduces associated noise and smell distraction to others in the workplace and encourages our employees to move around the workplace benefiting from connection, change of posture and choice of work settings
How have employees responded?
While it is an adjustment for people at first, I don’t think you’ll find many people who truly believe that eating three meals a day at your desk is a good thing. The policy intends to make it easier for people to make healthy choices and enjoy each other’s company in other areas of the workplace. Employees quickly realize those benefits.
The cornerstone of the success of the policy has been the RISE Café. Just simply installing a no-eating at your desk policy won’t work unless you give people a great place to go and eat lunch. Our Cafés are attractive and great places to be. They are light and airy plus there are a variety of seating options. I’ve seen all of our leaders use the RISE Café for both lunch, fireside chat events, town hall meetings and celebrations. The added benefit to employees is greater connection across teams, departments and levels of tenure while enjoying a bite to each or taking a break.
What are some of the benefits of the program and CBRE?
- Studies have shown that a lack of communal eating areas can cause people to eat in isolation which has been shown to cause stress and overeating.
- By introducing a social aspect to eating, we’re also seeing people make healthier food choices. People want to be noticed making healthy choices when sitting among their peers.
- In addition, WELL mandates plate and cutlery sizes for employee use. This is to encourage better eating habits and portion awareness / control.
- Eating at your desk causes bacteria to grow through crumbs and the smells distract colleagues.