It’s too late for lunch
Once every eight weeks or so, I take a lunch break. I meet a friend, we eat dumplings, drink a glass of wine and laugh a lot. Sometimes we have two glasses of wine. Sometimes it takes two hours. When we’re done, we might take a whip around the shops, before heading back across the park to our respective jobs and lives.
For the rest of the year, I choose to eat lunch at my desk. Balancing mouthfuls of food with reading, checking Facebook and replying to emails. Health experts would be shaking their fists at me. They say eating lunch at your desk is a health hazard that leads to mindless eating, a dirty desk and a tired mind.
There is no doubt that stepping out of the office gives you a lift. The Fridays I spend out for lunch definitely make me feel good, and when I get back to work I’m in a better mood, more focused and inspired. Although, maybe that’s the wine…
But here’s the thing, I also enjoy eating lunch at my desk. Some people say that it saves time and ensures a punctual departure at the end of the day. Others say it makes them more efficient.
Rachel Larimore, a columnist with Slate Magazine, who works from home, loves eating lunch at her desk so much has a purpose built desk with a “special pull out section” for a placemat, coaster and tray.
I like eating at my desk because I get to read at the same time. Usually longer emails or articles harder to fit in around the regular course of the day. Online shopping is another drawcard for desk-lunchers. A friend said recently she saw a whole row of women sat at their desks, sandwich in one hand, clicking on shopping websites with the other. Welcome to modern life.
Workplace culture can often determine how we eat lunch.
A friend of mine who has lived and worked in France for about seven years tells me his work culture is such that they all eat lunch together, as colleagues. Taking an hour or so off to enjoy their food and talk. They then return to the office and don’t leave till much later in the evening, it’s their main meal of the day and their main break.
I’ve also known people who work in offices that encourage group exercise classes and others who are watched like hawks if they even dare to move from their desks before home time.
One obvious downside to eating at your desk is the limitations on the menu. If you’re a considerate person, you’re less likely to eat anything too crunchy, smelly or difficult to eat. But that leaves you with a very basic array of choices, that many people are guilty of repeating day in, day out.
Breaking that routine can be a challenge. Intelligent Life magazine experimented with the lunches of three, heavy hitting executives in London, New York and Paris. It chronicles what happened when they swapped their ritual lunch choices, with something more of “a sensuous, gastronomic delight”.
Now it’s hard to imagine anyone getting THAT excited about a lunch break, but the results were surprising and enjoyable to read, particularly given the high-end nature of their lunchtime address.
The Parisian’s sushi was transformed into a foie gras sandwich in the 8th arrondissement. The New Yorker’s egg salad became a mushroom, white truffle oil and gruyere quiche, while the London woman swapped her usual cous cous salad for a courgette and sundried tomato tart, followed by banana cheesecake.
Do you think they’d deliver to my desk?
Tweet me: @lucyjk
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