pause déjeuner

How many times have we asked one of our colleagues to join us for lunch and heard “no I’m not coming, I have a meeting to prepare or a file to finish”?

We all have someone in our entourage who doesn’t take the time to have lunch when it doesn’t happen to us.
So certainly, if it happens once in a while, there is no danger in the home, but when it becomes recurrent, it can be a problem.

Lunch at work, the situation in France and elsewhere

According to a study conducted by Edenred “What is your ideal meal”, the French remain attached to their lunch break. Nearly one out of two French people devotes more than 45 minutes to their lunch break.

The French therefore still do the opposite of our British neighbors (73% of them spend less than 30 minutes on their lunch break) or the Greeks (91% of them eat lunch in less than 30 minutes), considering the lunch break as a waste of time.

Despite this, more and more French people are eating lunch alone on a desk corner in less than 20 minutes.

So question: is the French lunch break being dethroned by the English lunch break?

The risks of not (or too quickly) having lunch at lunchtime

Like all breaks, lunch plays an important role in your balance, especially in stress management.

While it is important to set aside a few moments of solitude to get together, eating alone on a desk corner is often a bad idea.

Like everyone else, we tell ourselves that it will help us move forward in our work, but is this the truth? Let’s see … let’s be honest, not really.

Between the desire to settle down (you know the little blow to our stomach that makes us breathe) and the need for both hands to bite into our sandwich, it doesn’t take much to want to take a break from our work.

But beyond this aspect of disconnection, having lunch at the office or not having lunch at all is just as bad for the body.

In fact, it takes your body 15 to 20 minutes to get going when you eat and for your brain (satiety center) to indicate that it has had enough. It is well known that the faster you eat, the more you eat and the more likely you are to gain weight.

Other “side effects” such as fatigue, heaviness, bloating may also occur as your cops react to the quick meal you served them.

Okay, okay, we get it, it’s not ideal. But what can you do when you don’t really have a choice?

If you have to eat lunch at your workstation, make sure it’s a real lunch even if it takes 5 minutes longer. Here are a few tips that may help:

  1. Take the time to eat in a quiet place, leave your work for lunch, you will still save more time than if you had gone to lunch with your colleagues.
  2. If you have a sandwich for lunch, opt for wholemeal bread and for a protein (ham, tuna, etc.), fibre (salad, tomato, etc.) and calcium (Swiss cheese, mozzarella, etc.) intake.
  3. If you’re more of a salad guy, that’s fine, but fibre alone can give you a boost in the afternoon. To cover your nutritional intake, it must contain, in addition to fiber, protein (cold meat or fish), calcium (goat, blue cheese, county) and starchy foods (rice, lentils, bread), not to mention seasoning.
  4. Get organized! We can never say it enough but nothing beats a home-cooked meal. For that there is no secret, it is necessary to go shopping and take time to prepare a meal (the leftovers of the evening meal will also do the trick). And one does not cheat by buying ready-made industrial dishes, too fat, too salty and which will not hold you down.
  5. Think of a dessert (a banana for example). Even if you really don’t have time to eat it, you will have it for a break later in the afternoon.
  6. Finally, against possible cravings, plan a small bag of dried fruit to keep in your drawer (Brazil nuts are particularly satisfying).

Work time or lunch time?

From a legal point of view, labor law prohibits employees from taking their meals at their workstation or in a place dedicated to their professional activity.

With regard to the working time itself, a decision of the Court of Cassation (C.Cass – Soc. 01/04/2003) considers that an employer can ask the employee to work during his break provided that this request is justified by an absolute necessity.

Finally, you should also be aware that the lunch break is not paid (except in exceptional cases) because it is not counted as part of the actual working time. You are therefore free to leave the company as you wish during your break.

From a human point of view, you should not forget either the interest of having lunch outside your office but in a professional setting.

Whether you share a moment of relaxation and conviviality with your colleagues, have lunch with clients during a seminar or with other people after a training course, all this contributes to the development of your network.

So … ready to take time for lunch?