1. The woman ahead of you ordering a gluten-free wrap could change your life. Lunch is not only tasty, but is an important part of your career growth. If you're new to a company, this 60-minute break is a great way to get to know new co-workers, learn about the culture, and glean insight to how things work—the unwritten rules—so you don't waste time making mistakes. The last thing you want to do is start a new gig by creating adversaries instead of allies.
2. You'll score a friend with (work-related) benefits. If you've been at a company for over a year, it's time to get serious about lunch. Ask to eat with women two-levels up who can help increase your knowledge of the company or get real-world advice on your career path or even how to deal with any major issues. Set up a standing monthly lunch date with a successful woman you admire at your company. She has been where you are and can offer a constant stream of valuable advice.
3. Eating lunch at your desk is bad for your newly toned yoga bod. It's noon. You've committed to a chopped salad, a brownie, and finally responding to emails for the umpteenth day in a row. Yes, we've all been there, but not taking a break can leave you more stressed out and weighing more. According to a survey conducted by Forza Supplements (via Daily Mail), 58 percent of employees felt pressure to eat lunch at their desk. That's sad. What's even more sad? We often give ourselves treats like cookies, brownies, or French fries (yum!) as a means rewarding our constant commitment to the grind, and that can pack on the pounds.
4. Sitting in front of your computer all day is depressing. As I'm writing this, I realize that I ate lunch at my desk today and my brain has grinded to a halt. Not taking the time to step away from your desk for a bite to eat can reduce your creativity and afternoon productivity. So, if you're looking for that promotion or raise perhaps eating a salad at Panera isn't such a bad idea after all.
5. You need time to catch up with your people. Too swamped during the day to maintain your social networks? Taking a midday break to respond to posts, check in with your followers, and take note of what's trending can help boost your social ranking. Don't forget, everything you do on social is public (even if your profile is set to private, your followers can see what you're doing). In order to establish yourself as a credible thought leader, you need to not only stay involved but be sure that what you pin, post, follow, and like is a direct reflection of your personal brand.