People notice your habits, and what you do about lunch has an impact on workplace culture. No matter what you tell your team, if nobody ever sees you taking a break, they’ll believe that taking breaks is a no-no. And without that break, the odds of productive, everyone-getting-along afternoons are slim.
Lunch is also a chance to connect. If you’re eating lunch in a common area, Joan will tell you that her daughter turned seven yesterday, and it’s more likely you’ll hear that Zach’s mom has breast cancer. Maybe Cynthia will finally pitch that really interesting idea to you that she wouldn’t otherwise.
I get that it isn’t easy to defend this time, because I’ve been a boss, too. But as much as your people need a good lunch, sometimes the boss needs a break even more. So eat some lunch, take a deep breath. and remind yourself that no matter how much responsibility or pressure you feel at work, you’re a human first.
And if taking a better lunch break sounds impossible or uncool, rumor has it that Bruce Springsteen brings his lunch to work. If THE Boss does, it’s just not possible to be uncool.