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On the surface, skipping an hour-long lunch break seems like an ideal way to be more productive and focused, and an estimated 67 percent of American workers agree. However, whether you are an employee or the boss, there are several compelling reasons to step away from your cubicle on a daily basis.

Less Stress = More Productivity

The reality is that workers who go on an actual lunch break away from the workplace have lower levels of stress. In the end, reducing this stress can actually make people more productive and less likely to be sick for extended periods of time or to file worker’s compensation claims.

Having healthier employees ultimately results in fewer insurance claims and lower business medical insurance premiums for you and your company. Just getting a breath of fresh air can give anyone’s attitude a jumpstart and get their creative juices flowing. As an employer, that’s great news for you.

Furthermore, there is that impossible to measure but vitally important quality found in all flourishing workplaces: high morale. When your staff can function as a cohesive team that works as one to achieve your company’s goals and mission, everybody wins. Encouraging workers to spend time together away from job-related tasks is one of the best ways to build and strengthen this camaraderie. By the way, they will be more likely to agree to an hour-long lunch break if they see you taking one once in a while.

Another way to boost interest in off-site breaks is by instituting a fitness challenge. As you and your staff become more active and engage in friendly rivalries, you will find that everyone’s productivity rises. As an added benefit, you will all be looking and feeling better, and no one can argue with those benefits.

Avoid Employee Burnout

Bidding a temporary farewell to the workplace can cut down on the likelihood of worker burnout. If faced with a very short-term goal that requires extra hours to complete, most of us will gladly buckle down and even be energized by the challenge. However, once these short-term projects turn into ongoing expectations of long hours and little if any breaks, your employees will become overwhelmed, depressed and resentful. That lethal combination will eventually lead to lower productivity, plummeting morale and employee turnover.

Sure, your lunch break is only an hour a day. But those 60 minutes, when well spent on non-work tasks and social and physical rejuvenation, can lead to incalculable benefits for everyone involved. Encourage everyone on your team to enjoy their free time, and you will find that you have happier, more productive employees who work harder and stay longer when needed.

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