There is nothing wrong with loving your job and working extra hard to get things done. There may even be instances when you had to take a working lunch and eat at your desk so that you can work at the same time.
You may have good intentions for doing so, but according to a report, eating at work stations can do more harm than good, especially when you do it on a regular basis. So, a working lunch can only be considered as a short term productivity booster, but not something that should be practiced just to lower down your workload.
The same report also stated that people who make it a habit to eat their meals at their work stations double their risk of exposing themselves to germs that can cause diseases and serious illnesses. As a result, when they get sick, they will be forced to be absent from work. That could mean adding up more to their workload and higher absenteeism costs for the company.
Of all the Americans who are working desk jobs, around 70% say that they eat their lunch at their desk at least three times a week. The sad news is that office employees, as well as their supervisors, believe that a working lunch makes them more productive and efficient at work. While it may bring some benefits in the short term, there are more detriments to the habit in the long run. As mentioned, it can lead to higher absenteeism and lower productivity due to illnesses that could have been prevented.
Important Reasons to Get Up and Move While at Work
Facts That Can Make You Lose Your Appetite
In 2006, a study showed that a normal work desk in an office is a breeding ground for different kinds of germs. In fact, your desk may contain 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. Aside from the desktop surface, most of the bacteria can be found on telephones and computer keyboards.
Even with these findings, it can be a challenge to encourage employees and even supervisors to avoid eating at their work stations. After all, these bacteria and germs are not visible to the human eye, so they still go on with their unhealthy practices. However, the study also stated that employers have noticed a decrease in their employees’ absenteeism rate when they emply these three simple but effective practices:
- Giving instant hand sanitizers to their employees, which come in mini bottles so that they can keep it on their desks.
- Providing their employees with sanitizing wipes that they can use to clean their work stations. Sanitizing wipes are way better than damp napkins and cloths because these things just spread the germs around the surface.
- Educating their employees with the importance and benefits of frequent hand washing with warm water. Most of the time, the significance of this simple task is overlooked, even in the health care setting, but once it is practiced and applied, the results are very rewarding.
Increased Obesity in the Workplace
Aside from the risk of contracting diseases as a result of eating at unsanitary workstations, there is another hidden danger in taking a working lunch. The second danger is that the unhealthy habit of eating at the desk can result to higher risks of overweight and obese employees. This will not just impact the workforce, but can also affect the company’s cost.
The reason behind the higher risk of obesity is the fact that people who eat while they work tend to be less careful about the amount of food that they consume. Sometimes, since they are doing two things at the same time, they may not even notice that they have been eating more than they intend to.
Aside from the food portions, people who eat at their desk also tend to choose unhealthy foods such as processed food and fast food. After all, they are after the convenience of eating food that is easy to eat so that they can focus more on finishing their work.
It is also most likely that people who eat at their desks do not find the time to exercise and do some physical activities anymore. That is why, companies should also do their part to help avoid these health risks by initiating and promoting wellness programs that their employees can participate in.
This is also where workplace culture and employee education can come in handy. When it comes to health and wellness, it is both the responsibility of the employees and the company to help each other out in ensuring that diseases can be prevented and unhealthy habits will be avoided.