Whether you’ve started a new job or been in one for a while, making a habit of bringing home-prepared food for lunch every day might not be the best idea. If you’re the new gal or guy on the block, lunchtime is a great opportunity to get familiar with the team and the unofficial rules. If you’ve been feeling disconnected with your long-time job and office, an hour over a meal every day can get you back into the rhythm of out-of-office bonding and decision-making.

Bond with your team

Going out for lunch is a great way to get to know your colleagues. While you’re working, conversation tends to trend professional and more social topics only get brief amounts of attention at the water cooler and walks across the office.

If you bring in a brown bag lunch, you may end up spending lunchtime alone if others in the office don’t replicate. Try ditching the home-made sandwich and head to Chipotle or whatever else is the noon-time favorite between your co-workers.

Not only will you get in on the out-of-office work-related talk that tends to form unofficial workplace dynamics, you’ll also get the opportunity to learn about your colleagues on a personal level. Understand what motivates them, what they enjoy, and what makes them tick. You’ll form a better network, develop unseen career opportunities, and form great friendships.

Enjoy the little things

Just as important as bonding with your team is enjoying the little things in life. Bringing in the same food from home every single day, whether it’s leftovers from the day before or a sandwich you made in the morning, can get tedious and unsatisfying quickly. Going out to lunch allows you to break the routine, eat something new, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you can afford it, budget some money each week for your out-of-office lunching. You don’t have to go out to eat every single day and setting the money aside will keep you making good financial decisions. Treat yourself to new foods and enjoy a variety of meals - you’ll feel more satisfied and refreshed.


Take the time to decompress

Stepping away from the office for lunch is the best way to reenergize yourself after the first half of your workday. Staying in the office, eating at your desk, or even avoiding lunch altogether puts you on the fast track to unhappiness and job dissatisfaction. Take your allotted lunch hour in full. Think creatively outside of the tasks you need to get done day to day. The result? A more productive, energetic second half of your workday with better focus.

So go enjoy some time away from the desk. Get some social time with your co-workers. Bond over conversation that doesn’t involve work. Build relationships beyond the office. Enjoy your food. And give your mind a refresh from your to-do list. The resulting job satisfaction and productivity will lead your career in the right direction.

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