The Trouble With Working Through Your Lunch

Exhausted at the end of the day? Perhaps it’s time to re-examine your lunch habits.

A study published in Academy of Management Journal found that relaxing through your lunch break will leave you less fatigued by the end of the workday—so long as you do so by choice. Researchers at an unnamed North American university surveyed 103 administrative employees over ten days, in order to determine how they spent their lunch breaks and how fatigued they felt. Researchers also spoke with the employees’ co-workers, to get an outside impression of fatigue levels.

Co-workers reported that the surveyed employees seemed more fatigued if they worked through lunch, as one might expect, but also if they partook in social activities (gossiping and co-worker birthday parties, we expect) during lunch. If they relaxed, they were less fatigued. However, another key factor emerged: choice. If employees felt like they were working through lunch by choice, they felt less fatigued that if their bosses were ordering them to work through lunch.

Suddenly, those nap rooms for employees make a lot of sense.


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