Millennials Are Ditching Lunch Breaks To Eat At Their Desks…And It’s Not Helping Productivity Any

Work, offices, and food are often at odds — bacteria-laden fridges, stolen yogurt cups, that little baggy of what might have once been baby carrots. Shudder. Through the years, lunch went from a quick bite before you had to get back on the factory line to three martini affairs of the Mad Men-era to the power lunches at the Four Seasons. Then the 21st century happened. Our work has become more and more tethered to our computers and devices, and our lunches are changing accordingly.

Right Management followed the habits of the average American office worker’s luncheon habits over the course of several years. They found that 80 percent of employees do not take a regular lunch break. The extremes show that Millennials preferred eating solo with a quarter of them responding that they “eat alone to multitask better.” (No word on whether “Snapchat” is considered a “task” in this answer.)

Technology has also aided in the boom for people choosing to eat at their desk. Several apps and delivery services have flourished around the idea of you not being able to (or wanting to) leave your desk for lunch. Even Slack, a workforce messaging app, is using a new bot that will allow you to get Taco Bell delivered right to your laptop wherever you happen to be working.

All of this seems fairly productive on the surface. However, sadly, it may not be. Forbes pointed out recently that we’re wasting more time than ever before, with Millennials being the biggest offenders. Thanks, “the internet!”

Brian Wansink, of Cornell University, has been studying lunching patterns of workers and noted, “desktop dining isn’t even a sign of industriousness anymore; these days, a desk luncher is as likely as not to be scrolling through Facebook.” Wansink goes on to mention after surveying different employees that “workplace satisfaction is so much higher if you eat with your colleagues. You like your job more — and you like your colleagues better.”

Right Management concludes, “We might infer that far fewer employees are feeling comfortable enough with their work loads and demands to actually take time away to enjoy breaks for meals.” Maybe we don’t need to follow the French and spend two or three hours dining on wine and foie for every lunch, but surely we need at least a small break away from the computer’s black mirror. Or as Bill Maher put it, “we have the right to disconnect.”

(Via The Guardian)