Take Back The Lunch Break Day

June 21, 2024 is National Take Back The Lunch Break Day

National Take Back the Lunch Break Day aims to encourage workers to take time for themselves during their workday, specifically by enjoying a full lunch break.  The act of taking back the lunch break signifies a deliberate and conscious effort to prioritize personal well-being and work-life balance within the organization.

Our fast-paced work environments often don’t allow for breaks during the workday. Getting caught up in a never-ending stream of tasks and deadlines is easy.

But pausing for a proper lunch break has numerous benefits that can positively impact both productivity and well-being. You can easily provide incentives and opportunities for employees in your organization to Take Back The Lunch Break.

A group of employees out for lunch on Take Back The Lunch Break

Learn how organizations like yours are implementing

Take Back The Lunch Day

What is Take Back The Lunch Break Day?

In a fast-paced work environment where deadlines are pressing, and responsibilities abound, it’s not uncommon to neglect the importance of a lunch break. Encouraging your employees to Take Back Your Lunch Break can be a game-changer.

Employees often imagine that working without breaks is the key to success. Failing to take adequate breaks, including lunch breaks, not only reduces productivity but can also lead to chronic stress and burnout.

Encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the workday, especially during lunchtime, has become increasingly important. Breaks offer many benefits and advantages that contribute to employee engagement and satisfaction as well as professional success and overall well-being.

A group of exhausted looking employees who need a break
A group of employees playing a game on Take Back the Lunch Break Day

Why Take a Break?

When you periodically step away from your desk to take a break and dedicate a specific time to enjoy a balanced meal or engage in activities you love, you’re giving your mind and body a chance to recharge.

This breather can improve your focus, creativity, and problem-solving abilities when you return to work.

It’s worth doing across the entire organization.

You can kick-start the day and provide employees with a fun way of celebrating the day – and provide a timely reminder that your organization is interested in employee well-being.

Observing National Take Back the Lunch Break Day

Encouraging employees to prioritize their well-being and take regular breaks promotes work-life balance and prevents burnout.

When individuals feel supported in prioritizing their own self-care, they’re more likely to bring their best selves to work and contribute to a positive and productive work environment.

Taking back your lunch break also provides an opportunity for social interaction and networking. Connecting with colleagues, having conversations unrelated to work, or even engaging in hobbies or physical activities during your break can strengthen relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie within the workplace.

Employees having lunch and observing national take back the lunch break day

Negative consequences of not taking breaks:

Decreased Productivity

decreased productivity

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, prolonged periods of work without adequate rest lead to a decline in cognitive function, reducing the workers’ ability to think creatively, problem-solve, and make decisions effectively.

Reduced Creativity

Breaks increase creativity

The Journal of Applied Psychology highlights that taking breaks during task performance increases creativity with the implication that constant work without pauses can negatively impact creative thinking.

Lower Problem-Solving Skills

Breaks improve problem solving skills

Studies show that even short breaks significantly reduce stress. MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment discovered a potential indicator of how stress affects the brain and alter its ability to solve problems. 

Stress and burnout

Breaks reduce burnout

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, breaks can serve as an effective coping mechanism that buffers the impact of job demands on employee health and well-being. Regular pauses from work allow individuals to mentally and physically rejuvenate, which can lead to decreased feelings of stress and prevent the onset of burnout.

Health issues

Breaks can prevent health issues

A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity demonstrated that breaks from sitting throughout the day can lower markers of chronic disease risk, such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. The breaks were linked with lower levels of C-reactive protein, an important marker of inflammation that’s associated with the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Strained work relationships

Breaks reduce Stress

A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior found that employees who take lunch breaks with their colleagues reported higher job satisfaction and a greater likelihood to recommend their organization as a good place to work. Shared breaks provide opportunities for employees to interact informally, building trust and improving communication.

Decreased job satisfaction

Breaks increase job satisfaction and reduce stress

A recent study in the Academy of Management Journal found that employees who took lunch breaks, particularly those who chose their own activities during this time, experienced less emotional exhaustion and greater job satisfaction.

Lesser employee engagement

breaks help facilitate employee engagement

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, breaks during the workday can increase energy, motivation, and concentration; key factors enhancing employee engagement. The study found that employees who took more breaks reported higher levels of job satisfaction, a reduced likelihood of burnout, and increased overall health, all linked to greater engagement.

Increased Turnover

Breaks reduce stress and employee turnover

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that a lack of breaks increased the likelihood of employee turnover due to higher levels of stress and burnout. Employees who take regular breaks throughout the workday improve their mental well-being and job satisfaction, making them more likely to stay with the company.

Using Incentives for Take Back The Lunch Break Day

A group at lunch engaging about a new project

Ways to celebrate

Incentives and rewards are a great way to reinforce your commitment to lunch breaks.

Providing lunch rewards as incentives not only acknowledges the value of taking breaks but also reinforces the idea that employees’ physical and mental well-being are integral to their success and the overall success of the organization. It sends a clear message that the company recognizes the importance of work-life balance and supports employees in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Offering lunch rewards as incentives fosters a culture that promotes a healthy work environment. It demonstrates that the organization values its employees’ overall health and recognizes the importance of nurturing a positive work-life integration.

Ultimately, employee wellness is the focus of encouraging Take Back The Lunch Break Day, not the incentives.

Here are just a few reasons you should consider using incentives for your Take Back The Lunch Break Day program:

Increase visibility

A free lunch always gets attention, doesn’t it? Rewards and incentives make the day stand out and give employees a reason to think about the importance of having balanced workdays.

Increase participation

Incentives motivate employees to participate. When employees see that there is a reward for their participation, they may be more likely to sign up and engage in the program.

Encourage healthy behaviors

Incentives and rewards can encourage employees to adopt a balanced workstyle including taking breaks, exercising, eating well, and reducing stress. Healthy behaviors can bring about improved health outcomes, resulting in reduced healthcare costs for both the employee and the company.

Improve morale

Offering incentives can show employees that the company values their health and well-being. This can improve morale and increase employee engagement, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction. 

What about you?

swamped with work

Now, picture this: you’re swamped with work, deadlines looming, and your stomach is growling like a hungry bear. It’s easy to brush off that lunch break, thinking it’ll save time and keep you ahead. But let me tell you, taking back your lunch break is a game-changer!

give yourself a proper lunch break

First off, giving yourself a proper lunch break is like hitting the reset button for your brain. Stepping away from your desk, grabbing a bite to eat, and taking a breather helps recharge your mental batteries. Trust me, when you return to your tasks, you’ll be sharper, more focused, and ready to tackle challenges head-on.

Graphic of man at test - Avoid burnout

Not only does a lunch break boost productivity, but it’s also a secret weapon against burnout. We all know how demanding work can get, and constantly grinding without breaks leads to diminishing returns. By observing National Take Back the Lunch Break Day, you’re signaling that you value your well-being and work-life balance. It’s a small act of self-care that can make a big difference in the long run.

opportunity for networking with colleagues

Here’s another perk: a lunch break is a golden opportunity for networking and building connections. Grabbing lunch with colleagues, engaging in casual conversations, or even joining a work social event can foster camaraderie and strengthen professional relationships. Remember, business isn’t just about spreadsheets and presentations—it’s about the people you work with too.

Let Everyone Enjoy!

Don't Forget Remote Employees & Virtual Staff

Give remote workers plenty of advance notice that you’re getting lunch on National Take Back The Lunch Break Day. Automate the sending of gift cards to the food establishment of their choice. Track redemption progress so you can make sure everyone gets to participate. 

There are plenty of choices to make sure your remote staff get the food they want – either in a local restaurant – or delivered right to their home.

  • Local Merchant Cards, including local restaurants
  • National food and pizza chain cards
  • Food delivery services; GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats
  • Payments via Visa/Mastercard, and payment providers


Send remote staff a choice of cards from local and national options with instructions to observe National Take Back The Lunch Break Day!

pizza party day


Lunch on a desk with a reminder to take time for lunch

The history of National Take Back the Lunch Break Day dates to 2018 when Tork International first introduced the concept. The initiative was based on a survey conducted by Tork, revealing that nearly 90% of North American employees claimed that taking a lunch break helped them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Despite these positive sentiments about lunch breaks, the survey also found that only one in five workers took regular lunch breaks, highlighting a substantial disconnect between the perceived value of breaks and the reality in workplaces.

This day is a call to action for both employers and employees to recognize the undeniable benefits of taking a break. Employers are encouraged to foster an organizational culture that values breaks as a critical aspect of employee well-being and productivity. On the other hand, employees are prompted to assert their right to a meaningful break and to step away from their workstations to refresh and recharge. Through National Take Back the Lunch Break Day, Tork hopes to revive the traditional lunch break and underscore its importance in the modern work environment.


A well-deserved lunch break can be the secret ingredient to a more fulfilling and successful workday.

Take Back the Lunch Break Day can foster a healthier work culture. Encouraging employees to prioritize their well-being and take regular breaks promotes work-life balance and prevents burnout.

Overall, studies show that taking a lunch break at work has positive effects. It allows for cognitive restoration, creativity enhancement, stress reduction, and social interaction, all of which can contribute to improved focus, creativity, and problem-solving abilities when individuals return to work. Encouraging employees to take regular and meaningful lunch breaks can be beneficial for their well-being and overall job performance.

Make the most of National Take Back the Lunch Break Day! Remind your employees to observe the day by sending them incentives and reminders to “Take Back The Lunch Break.”

Embracing this observance reinforces the importance of balance in the workday so it is more balanced, enjoyable, and ultimately, more successful. So, seize the moment and claim the lunch break with confidence and authority!

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