Eating Lunch at Your Desk Might Not Be So Bad for You, After All

A new study shows that eating lunch while working might not be the cause of your bad mood.
A new study shows that eating lunch while working might not be the cause of your bad mood.
Aka Hige via Flickr

A new study shows that working through lunch might not be as bad for you as once thought. In fact, in certain situations it can be less exhausting, the study shows.

So if noshing while working isn't what's bringing you down, then what is the new key to ultimate workplace fulfillment? The answer might be freedom.

See also: Eating Lunch at Your Desk Is Stressing You Out

The study, done by researchers at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, found that while employees who worked through lunch appeared more tired at the end of the day, the effect was reduced when the employees felt it was their choice.

"We found that a critical element was having the freedom to choose whether to do it or not," John Trougakos, an associate professor and co-author of the study, said according to Business News Daily. "The autonomy aspect helps to offset what we had traditionally thought was not a good way to spend break time."

Researchers surveyed 103 employees over a 10-day period for the study, according to The Atlantic. Each employee was given a questionnaire at the end of their lunch break to assess how they spent their time. The employee's co-workers were also asked to give a report on how tired their co-worked seemed at end of the day.

Co-workers reported that the surveyed employees were more tried if they worked through lunch. But they also reported they seemed tired if they did social activities, like eating out with friends, during their break. And most importantly, whether or not the employees got to choose to work or play during lunch made a significant difference.

So what's the takeaway? It turns out lunching with that one guy down the hall who chews too loud because you feel you have to might be just as tiring as slugging away on that report so your boss doesn't get mad. The important thing seems to be to make sure you're lunch time is reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the day -- and that you can, you know, just do whatever you want, man!

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