What are you having for lunch?
A store-bought sandwich that crumbles all over your keyboard as you digest the latest depressing world news?
A $10 salad, eaten in front of your computer, as you toggle mindlessly between Facebook and your work?
If you’re like the majority of office workers, whatever you’re having for lunch, you’re probably dining al desko.
Some 80% of employees don’t take a regular lunch break. Rather, we cram in our calories solo, and swiftly: on average it takes just 15 minutes to eat lunch.
And while it may seem sad that so many of us are masticating alone, with only the glow of our screens for company, a lot of people actually prefer it that way.
In one study, a quarter of millennial employees agreed with the statement “I eat alone to multitask better”.
Lunch, as we know it in Anglo-American society today, was cooked up during the industrial revolution.
Longer hours at factories situated a long way from home meant the office lunch became ingrained in the routine of working life.
A regular occasion rather than an occasional snack.
At the turn of the century, speed and efficiency shaped the lunch break.
“Haste seems to be a controlling factor in the luncheon of the worker,” noted Munsey’s Magazine in 1901.
The need for speed when it came to workday feeding launched new quick-serve food concepts such as cafeterias and automats.
Workers might not have been eating at their desks, but they were still scarfing sustenance alone.
The fabled power lunch was another innovation designed to optimize food-fuelled productivity.
The concept was invented by the Four Seasons New York in the late 1970s; they had the idea of designing a meal that would be conducive to doing business.
The tables were set far apart to give businessmen (and they were mainly men) privacy. You could buy wine by the glass and get a good meal in under an hour.