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The dangers of a desk-bound lunch


Have you ever eaten lunch at your desk? If so, you’re not alone. I know I’m guilty of it; at work, I’m a regular desk-bound diner.

It’s not because I want to show my boss that I’m a hard worker – I just want to be as productive as possible during my work day.  For most of us with busy days and hectic schedules, eating lunch at our desks seems like the easiest solution. But we should really change that mind set!

As it turns out, eating your lunch at your desk isn’t all that good for you; and there are a few good reasons backing that up, including hidden health dangers. Let’s find out what these are.

Your desk is gross

Be warned, you may not even want to touch your keyboard – let alone eat near it – once you read this fact.

Dr Charles Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at Arizona discovered that “desk top surfaces, computer keyboards, mouse and telephone receivers are more contaminated than a restroom toilet seats”. The research found that the keyboard alone is 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet bowl!

With this in mind, it’s best to keep your food well away from your desk, so you’re less likely to transfer germs from the keyboard to your lunch.  It also helps to keep your workspace clean.

You’ll be more productive and better at your job

When you’ve got a lot to do, a quick sandwich at your desk may seem like a good idea. But if you’re considering multitasking, think again!

There’s only so much you can do in a day. Taking a break is a great opportunity to let your mind wander, which can lead to new ideas, spark inspiration and potentially provide solutions to problems that were bothering you while your mind was active.

As the Fast Company writes, “even if we think we’re awesome at multitasking, we’re actually terrible at it.  Because quality work is deep work, and deep work is free of distraction. Sandwich included”.

Stress, sore joints and long term health risks

It’s important to move around every now and then to get your blood pumping and oxygen flowing.

When you eat lunch at your desk you’ll stay seated longer, and sitting for a long period of time can lead to problems like:

  • tension in your muscles and sore joints, leading to leg disorders
  • weakness in your hip and core muscles, leading to back pain
  • increased risk of heart disease
  • high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and
  • increased stress levels.

Distracted eating leads to sneaky weight gain

In order to enjoy your food, you need to pay attention to what you are eating. Otherwise, your body and brain don’t properly process the amount of food you are consuming; as a result you take in more calories than you need.  A sure-fire way to stack on the kilos!

Furthermore, don’t expect peace when you’re eating at your desk; unless you have a “go away” or “do not disturb” sign on your desk, your colleagues will assume that you’re working and may pepper your lunch with questions, help and problems to deal with. Hardly an enjoyable experience, is it?

You’ll build better work relationships with colleagues

Relationships at work are important.  You should learn how to build and maintain a healthy connection with those around you in order to enhance your job satisfaction.

That doesn’t mean that you have to eat lunch with your colleagues every day, know everything about them, or make them your best friends. But it doesn’t hurt to make the effort every now and then!

If you go out to lunch with your work colleagues occasionally, you might improve your rapport with them, which may lead to a more enjoyable work environment.

You can catch up and accomplish personal tasks

If you’re the type to eat lunch at your desk to save time, you’re probably looking for more hours in your week to get through your life admin as well. So why not use your lunch break to catch up on those personal tasks that you usually don’t get a chance to do because you’re so busy with work and family obligations? These tasks could be things like:

  • Catching up with friends that work nearby
  • Scheduling a meeting with an adviser from The Hopkins Group to take care of your financial future (and maybe even free up some more time by getting them to take care of things like your tax return, find the best home loan rate, manage your investment property, or just generally help you sort out a strategy to manage your overall financial wellbeing)

By now, you should be convinced that stepping away from your desk at lunch break is definitely worth it. It is full of benefits not only for your health, but your quality of work too; so we should all take full advantage of having a break.

Do you have any suggestions for how to spend your lunch break, or reasons why taking a break is important? Let us know over on our Facebook page.


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