CABA, the association for chartered accountants, is taking on today’s ‘al desko’ culture with advice on how to encourage workers to take a proper lunch-break. It advises employers to:
1 Lead by example. If your employees see you working through lunch, they may feel this is expected of them too. Make a point of letting your team know it’s okay and expected that they take a lunch break.
2 Encourage team lunches. Suggest a team lunch every week or, in the summer, a team picnic. This provides a great opportunity for your team to get to know each other away from the office.
3 Create a designated dining and downtime area. You don’t have to create a canteen; just an area that invites colleagues to take a break. This could be a picnic bench, a table and chairs or an area with soft lighting, comfy chairs and magazines and newspapers. Encourage employees to relax away from a screen.
4 Lunch and learn. It’s still work, but combining lunch with learning a new skill could be a way to ensure food-free desks once every week or month. Short and engaging 30-minute sessions can be run by your team with no need to bring in external trainers. Utilising staff to run these sessions will give team members the chance to practise their presentation skills. Just make sure the topic is light, so staff don’t feel drained afterwards.
5 Food-free desks. If you’ve tried all of the above without success, banning the eating of food at desks is an option. You could still allow ‘light’ snacks, but ask people to eat their lunch elsewhere.