What’s for lunch today and where do you plan to eat it? Most of us are guilty of scarfing down our food while working at our desks. With longer work days, fewer employees and a greater work load, most of us deem a “lunch break” a luxury we simply can’t afford.
Self-storage operators who manage a property solo for part or all of the day often find it difficult to carve out even 15 minutes for a break, let alone a full hour to enjoy lunch. Even teams at busy sites struggle to squeeze in time to recoup between answering calls, taking payments and performing site maintenance.
More often than not, most of us put off breaks, even short ones, because we’re afraid we’ll break our concentration, we have too much work to do or we’re convinced it’s better to “power through.” In many countries, afternoon breaks can last up to two hours! Honestly, I’d have a difficult time going back to work after such a long interruption, but some likely find the respite energizing. Still, taking a breather during the day is critically important to staying sharp as well as taking care of your mental and physical health—no matter your job or age. Here are some benefits:
- You get a mental break: Simply put, your brain needs time to reset. Our brains become overloaded, so stepping away from work and turning your attention to something else, even for 10 minutes, will help you recharge.
- Your body gets some rest: Many of us sit behind a computer for a large part of the day. I don’t know about you, but I have horrible posture while at my desk. I tend to slump in my seat and scrunch my shoulders. Plus, all the typing leads to hand fatigue. If you stand for a large part of your day, you may have achy legs and feet. Whether you do a lot of sitting or standing, a short break to stretch and move will aid in circulation and keep muscles loose.
- You’ll improve performance: Resetting your mind and body will lead to an improvement in job performance. Once you’ve had a break away from your various tasks, you’ll be able to concentrate once again.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, this sounds great, but how do I make it happen?” First, make sure your office hours are clear. Post this information everywhere. Many professional offices close down for up to an hour and a half every day for staff lunch. Why can’t your operation adopt this idea? Pick a time that works for your business and officially close. Perhaps this is every day at noon, or maybe it’s from 1-2 p.m. If you communicate this information to your tenants, they can plan accordingly. Unless your site has a manager on duty 24 hours a day, the office does close and people expect it. Why not incorporate an official lunch time into your operating hours?
If you’re afraid you’ll miss a sales call, walk-in rental or payment, make it easier for your tenants to interact with your facility. This could mean adding a kiosk, online reservation and billpay capabilities, or enlisting a call center. Again, letting customers know when the office is open is key.
Next, have a designated “lunch” spot. And it shouldn’t be your desk! If you have a break or staff room, perfect. If there isn’t room for a table (even an inexpensive card table), purchase a folding tray table that you can tuck away out of sight when not in use. Better yet, go outside whenever you can. Add a table and chair or picnic table near the back of the office so you can eat lunch in private and enjoy the sunshine.
You can also make a point to lock up and leave the facility during your lunch break. This can be tricky, but if you time it right, you can still enjoy some time off-site. You may not have an hour to spare for a lunch at a crowded restaurant, but you might be able to grab grub at the local deli.
Of course, your lunch break doesn’t have to be focused on food, either. You can always use this time in other ways. Consider the following:
- Personal errands: Use the time to make a quick trip to the store, bank or pharmacy. You can also pay bills or catch up on personal correspondence.
- Exercise: Take a 30-minute walk and really get your blood flowing.
- Hobbies: Read, listen to music or do something else creative.
- Zone out: Watch funny videos, your favorite TV show or simply just relax.
- Catch up with friends and family: Call your mom! Write a letter or compose a few postcards.
- Learn something: Whether it’s for personal or professional gain, you can use your break to increase your knowledge and skills.
While wrangling some downtime during the workday can be challenging, the benefits are definitely worth it. You’ll feel refreshed and be more productive once you’ve recharged, even if it’s only for a short time.
What’s your lunch routine? Add a comment below or join the discussion in progress at Self-Storage Talk.