Going Home for Lunch: A Recipe for Stress?

A look at the pros and cons of heading home for the midday meal.

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Does anyone out there know what percent of office workers go home for lunch? It's something I always wanted in my work-life, and now that I have it, I'm not convinced it's all I thought it was cracked up to be.

It takes me between 12 and 22 minutes in each direction--short enough to be a viable option, but long enough to make it not worth my time.

We've talked about the downside of living too close to the office. But now let's see if there's a real benefit in heading home for lunch:

PROS:

  • Watch TV: When your choices are Days of Our Lives or Judge Judy, this might actually be a con. Assuming YouTube is not blocked at work, you have an endless amount of video content at your fingertips from your cube.
    • Sit on Your Couch: Won't you be there in a few hours anyway?
      • Eat in Privacy: Maybe you get off on chewing with your mouth open, or are embarrassed by what you eat. If you are, eating at home must be a relief.
        • Eat Stinky Foods: There are plenty of foods that should be banned from the office (including natto). But most people chew their tuna and hard-boiled eggs as if they own the joint. Head home and treat yourself to something smelly.
          • Don't lug leftovers: Some food items simply don't travel well. No matter how technologically advanced Tupperware becomes, sandwiches get soggy, sauces leak and lettuce wilts.
            • Personal Business: Let's be honest, for job interviews, personal banking and doctor appointments, nothing beats a landline.
              • Break Up the Monotony: Many people wisely leave the office to keep their day interesting. This can result in expensive trips to the mall or the purchase of unnecessary items. In this economy, it's often cheaper to stay in.
              • CONS:

                • Stress: Commuting can be stressful. And since your lunch hour is likely a timed event, you might give yourself a knotted stomach by getting stuck in traffic on the way back. Plus, there's always the risk of the dreaded lunchtime accident.
                  • Waste Gas: An extra engine start and stop is not exactly what the environment considers green. Whether pumping the heat or blasting the AC, you're consuming energy with every automotive move.
                    • All By Myself: Community lunches at work seem to be on the verge of extinction. But the ultimate in isolation is getting into your metal box on wheels to enjoy a sandwich at home.
                      • Unhealthy Eating: The comforts of home can induce you into eating more--or worse--eating unhealthy fodod.  It's the old adage: If it's there, you might eat it.
                      • Factors to consider if you're wondering whether heading home for lunch is worth your time and something to strive for:

                        • What conditions do you eat in at work currently? Are they comfortable?
                        • How far is the drive and how consistent is the time it takes to travel to and fro?
                        • Now it's your turn. Do you head home for lunch? Do you wish you could?

                          After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but also about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.

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