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Feeling fatigued? Getting out of the office for lunch could be the answer

10 Oct 2018

Do you make a point to take your lunch break in full most workdays? You might be one of only 28% of New Zealanders who actually make the most of it.

Recruiting firm Hays surveyed 1253 professionals and asked them how much of their lunch break they actually use.

It found that 28% take their entire designated lunch break most days; 25% take three-quarters of their lunch break’ and 22% take half.

On the other end of the scale, 18% take only a quarter of their lunch break; and 7% don’t take a break at all.

That may be why so many workers feel tired and fatigued at work – even though 93% of all respondents say their productivity benefits when they take a lunch break away from the office.

“People often believe they’re too busy or their to-do list is too long to be able to step out,” comments Hays Australia & New Zealand managing director Nick Deligiannis. “But we don’t always need to be available at our desk. We can step away to eat and take a break.”

What helps people to stay fresh and alert at work? Fresh air, stretches, exercise, and mindfulness are just some of the top picks.

65% said getting away from their desk to eat lunch helps. This was followed by short 5-minute breaks for fresh air (56%), a lunchtime break from all devices (50%), minimising eye fatigue, such as looking away from your computer screen at regular intervals (44%), gentle stretches at your desk (41%), listening to music (37%), exercise at lunchtime (36%), regularly eating small, healthy meals or snacks (33%) and mindfulness or meditation (20%).

Many of us will know the mid-afternoon slump when productivity wanes.

“Stepping out for a lunch time break can help avoid the 3pm slump and improve your afternoon productivity. You’ll come back refreshed and your attention span will increase,” comments Deligiannis. When people venture away from their desks or workplaces, devices should stay put too.

“Technology has blurred the lines between work and life, giving us a constant connection to work,” says Deligiannis. 

“It’s important to down tools and step away from our devices during break times. Go for a walk to stretch your legs or sit in a nearby park. You’ll notice the difference in your improved level of productivity.”  

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