Everyone is looking forward to their lunch hour, usually a midday break where you can eat a sandwich, run an errand, make a personal call, or just sit down with a friend or two and recharge after a busy morning.
Research shows that a given lunch hour boosts employee morale and energy and is a much-needed break.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, an employee’s hour-long lunch break promotes health, reduces stress and increases work performance. Data from this study suggest that lunch breaks lead to a decrease in absenteeism, as well as improved job satisfaction and behavior.
There is even a trend where businesses or retail stores stop working for a fixed period so that employees can have their lunch hour at the same time.
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Before the pandemic, Adam Lyons, a business consultant and founder of SMART Blueprint, said he had always advised customers to arrange employee lunch hours. But, as pandemic restrictions have been relaxed, he said it was important to motivate people to return to the office or store.
“Single lunch breaks are no incentive, which is why I recently started recommending clients to have their employees eat lunch at the same time,” Lyons explained. “We’ve found that this helps with team building, morale, and the general happiness of employees.”
Although this collective lunch hour arrangement may affect the bottom line for companies choosing to close from noon to 1 p.m., Lyons said it is paying off again in team morale.
Also, on a more personal note, we’ve all seen a small business sign that says ‘come back at 1 p.m.’ I always say to clients and my family ‘Enjoy the day and come back.’ “They are taking a much-needed break — something we all need,” Lyons continued.
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Scott Kilmer, CEO of Car Windshields, says he’s closing his business to give his employees an hour’s lunch break each day.
“I’m taking a break for myself too,” he said. “Since I’m a worker, I think my crew deserves a full daytime break.”
He said he encountered some obstacles to his policy.
Kilmer shared: “I’m not having any consequences because I’ve posted my lunch breaks on every social media page and people don’t visit much during that time.” “I think stopping your work for an hour will not affect it at all, it will motivate your employees to work even harder. They will acknowledge the fact that you care about them too, which is very important to the success of the business.”
Likewise, Marina Famond, owner of HouseCashin, a market for off-market homes, says she’s also closing her business for lunch.
“I implemented this policy because I realized that my employees were eating lunch in their offices. This is not only unhealthy but indicated to me that my employees are so stressed that they feel they can’t part with the job. I implemented an hour office closing policy during lunch and my employees even love it right Now “.
Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, said there are a range of benefits to a standard lunch break related to employee relations.
“A routine that allows and encourages everyone to eat at the same time means employees can spend that time with each other,” Woolley said. “This enables them to get to know each other. This can help foster a better work environment and a higher level of commitment to the organisation, as well as more effective working relationships.”
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She explained that even learning the small personal details about each other can allow co-workers to anticipate a problem or conflict or give someone more benefit of the doubt when they are late or there is a misunderstanding.
“Doing this at lunch enhances the potential for these benefits, as people typically have a more positive impression of others they interact with while they are eating,” Woolley added.
Even national retail chains are joining the lunch hour wagon. You may have noticed that CVS Pharmacy in your area is closed for lunch from 1:30 to 2 p.m.
“We want to make sure our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are at their best, which means supporting their schedules accordingly,” said CVS Pharmacy spokeswoman Amy Thibault. “While we have always had a meal break policy, we implemented a pre-scheduled, uninterrupted lunch break across our pharmacies in late February. This break gives our CVS pharmacy teams daily, predictable and consistent pause while minimizing disruption to our patients. Most of our pharmacies are now closed from 1:1 30 p.m. to 2 p.m. local time.
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Thibault says signs have been put up in stores to let patients know that the pharmacy is closed and will reopen soon.
“Prescribers who call the pharmacy are sent to voicemail and patients who call the pharmacy are notified that the pharmacy is closed and asked to call back after 2 pm when the pharmacy is open,” she said.