Eating at our desk is not a good habit and we all know it. But yet we have been there and done that. Be it gobbling down your sandwich to catch up on an important meeting or answering phone calls in between bites, this habit has become an integral part of the current corporate culture. There is no doubt that everyone is working hard to fit the bill and given the rat race we all have to be on our toes all the time. And the best way out is to multitask your way through lunch by grabbing quick bites and get through your workload. But this may not be good for your health, claims numerous research studies.
According to a 2019 study, the number of people opting to eat meals at their desks is becoming quite common. This has led to coining the term “desktop dining” which as the name suggests means eating/dining at your desktop/desk. Here are a few reasons why you should step away from your computer and eat your lunch with your colleagues at the canteen.
3 Reasons Why Eating At Your Desk Is A Bad Idea
1. You sit for too long
Someone has rightly said that sitting is the new smoking. Given the desk job that most of us have, we spend more than half of our day sitting. This plus driving back home, eating dinner, watching television or relaxing on a couch, most of our day is spent sitting. So eating at your desk will only add to the number of hours spent sitting. Moreover, spending long hours sitting not only limits your calorie expenditure but also ups your risk of lifestyle conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Tip: To break the monotony of sitting hours at a stretch, make the most of your lunch time by eating lunch at the office canteen. Also, make sure you get up from your seat every hour and walk a few steps to keep your body physically active. Taking a scroll around the office premises after a lunch break can help you breathe fresh air and also make you feel lighter and fresh post lunch.
2. You tend to eat more
One of the key reasons for eating at your desk is to meet your deadline and finish your work on time. So it goes without saying that while having lunch at your desk you are more likely to scroll down a spreadsheet or examining a mail trial, which is not a healthy way to enjoy your meal. This is because, research studies  have reported that visual and auditory distractions such as watching a video or listening to a podcast during meals can lead to higher energy intake as compared to eating alone without any distraction. It is a known fact that eating more than you need and too too frequently can not only increase your caloric intake but also up your risk of being overweight and obese.
Tip: Make sure you eat your lunch in peace away from your desk. Also, keep your phone in your drawer or in your bag till you finish your meal. This can help you to enjoy your food by savouring each and every bite and help you eat mindfully.
3. You become stressed and less-productive
Being cramped up in your chair looking at your computer screen can leave you feeling stressed and worn out. This not only makes you dull but also decreases your productivity because your brain fails to keep up with the creative juices sitting at a single place all day long. Getting up from your desk and walking around your office, maybe during lunch break, can your brain get the much needed break from the screen and help you feel fresh and energetic.
Tip: Instead of catching up with your friends on social media or the missed episodes of your favorite web series, enjoy a hearty meal with your friends and colleagues. This can not only act as a great way to socialize at the office but also works as a great stress buster and relaxes your mind. Also, lunchtime conversations pave way for your next creative or social media mailer.
In addition to these problems, eating at your desk not only messes up your workstation but also makes it look unhygienic and dirty. With wrappers and packets lying near your desk to keyboard glistening with oil stains, desktop dining (including snacking) is not a happy sight. So instead of being stuck up to your chair, eat your meals with your colleagues and the make of your lunch break. Meanwhile, it’s time for my lunch break, so I am heading to my canteen to break my habit of eating at my desk. Hope you too dine away from your desk!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Ding L, Hamid N, Shepherd D, Kantono K. How is Satiety Affected When Consuming Food While Working on A Computer? Nutrients. 2019 Jul 8;11(7). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6683023/
2. Quintiliani L, Poulsen S, Sorensen G. Healthy Eating Strategies in the Workplace. Int J Workplace Health Manag. 2010 Sep 1;3(3):182-196. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737584/
3. De Bloom J, Kinnunen U, Korpela K. Exposure to nature versus relaxation during lunch breaks and recovery from work: development and design of an intervention study to improve workers’ health, well-being, work performance and creativity. BMC Public Health. 2014 May 22;14:488. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4039544/