Friday, May 17, 2013

Be Flexible with Lunch

Some positions have scheduled breaks for whatever reason, so you have no choice about when you take your lunch or where. But if you’re fortunate enough to work in an environment where you can choose when you take your lunch break, be flexible with it. Here’s why.

Say you work 9am to 5:30pm and you prefer to take your lunch every day at 12:30. There’s nothing wrong with that—most people benefit from a routine. However, if you are working on an important task at 12:15 and you think it might take you a half hour or forty five minutes to finish it, consider completing the work and then taking your lunch at 12:45 or 1:00. Don’t always stop what you’re doing to take your lunch break at exactly the same time. You should put your responsibilities before your appetite and be willing to have your lunch a little later than usual to get something important done. This shows flexibility and commitment. Always stopping the middle of something to take a break sends the message that the work is inconvenient to you and should be done in your timeframe, not the company’s. That doesn’t mean you have to wait two hours to eat because a frustrating task is taking longer than you expected. In that case, a break may help your concentration. But every now and then, switch it up when it will be efficient for your workload.

Another way to be flexible with lunch is not always eating at your desk by yourself. Say yes to an invitation to grab sandwiches with a coworker (or better yet, a supervisor), sit next to someone in the lunch room, or offer to buy someone else lunch every now and then. Participate in company-wide picnics and free social lunches. It will show everyone you are a team player and value the company of those you work with. Make it happen!

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