The pressure today to be ultra-productive (or at least seen as ultra-productive) means that for many office workers a proper lunch break is an unaffordable luxury. An all too common scene at some desks involves an over-worked employee simultaneously responding to emails while munching on a shop bought sandwich in a desperate attempt to impress the boss or meet deadlines.

Mindless, distracted eating in place of a proper break and the chance to enjoy a tasty meal isn’t only bad for the body and mind, it’s bad for business, and it’s up to managers to tackle the problem. Why? For a starters, studies have found that employees with bosses who encouraged proper breaks were 81% more likely to stay in their jobs.

Employees that always eat alone at their desks also won’t have the same opportunities to interact informally with their co-workers. Relationships that are strengthened over lunch can pay huge dividends, as colleagues develop trust and an improved ability to communicate with each other that can cross over into their work projects.

While managers can encourage their staff to take proper lunch breaks, it’s up to them to set the example and show them how it’s done. It’s up to managers to encourage healthier eating at lunchtime by offering fruit at meetings instead of (or at least as well as) salty or sugary snacks. It’s up to managers to actually leave the office, and take a moment to fully disengage from work.

About the author:

Stephen Pritchard works in the marketing department at Adzuna, Europe’s fastest growing job search website. While he’s mastered the art of taking a proper lunch break, he can still often be found snacking at his desk.