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Tips for getting people back on task after their lunch break


Any one who has worked a full time job understands the value of the lunch break. Of course you need a break to eat your lunch at but the lunch break is also a popular time to run a quick errand, relax from a stressful morning at work, prepare for the afternoon shift, and even make it to a midday appointment without missing work. For employees, lunch breaks are heaven sent, but for managers they can be quite annoying. It is hard enough to make sure that all of your employees show up on time in the morning, let alone having to make sure that they arrive back at the office on time after lunch. Some employees simply do not see arriving back to work after lunch as a big deal. So what are some tips that may be able to help managers get their employees back on task after their lunch break? Here are some ideas:

Create an incentive for prompt return from lunch breaks


Let's face it, 99% of us are motivated by incentives. It could be something as simple as recognition of promptness at the next employee meeting or something larger like a monetary reward or gift certificate. See what it takes to motivate your employees to get back to the office on time. Some managers take the authoritarian approach and simply threaten their employees with negative consequences if they do not return on time. However, using fear is a poor motivator and will be far less effective then creating a situation where the employee makes his own decision to want to return from lunch on time.

Have certain responsibilities start right when lunch ends

Time after lunch is often difficult because most people tend to get the bulk of what they need to do in a day done in the morning. Other individuals start the day out with what work they want to do and save the less exciting work for later. As a manager, you can brainstorm ways that you can give your employees responsibilities that excite them as soon as lunch is over. Give them something to look forward to or something that they are solely responsible for and take pride in doing well. When appropriate, make other members of the team aware of everyone else's specific responsibilities after lunch so that team members can work with each other to encourage prompt returns and effective working habits.

Hold employees accountable for the time that they spend as soon as lunch is over

Sometimes there are situations where employees must be held accountable for their tardiness. This is often the case with young employees who have not yet developed an understanding of a goof work ethic. In some cases employees must simply be held accountable for the time that they misused by returning back to work from lunch late or not staying on task once returning to work by receiving warnings and formal reprimanding so as to understand that prompt return from work and corresponding focus on work related activities is an expected part of the job.

Make it more appealing for your employees to remain on-site for lunch

Sometimes the best solution for getting employees back on task after their lunch breaks is to try to keep them close to their work in the first place. Make it more appealing for your employees to remain on-site for lunch or try to make it appealing to stay at least as close as possible during the lunch hour. Be creative. Think of how you can improve the quality of your staff's break room or employee lounge. Offer rewards of food vouchers for the on-site cafeteria or nearby eateries. Have company sponsored lunches brought to the office. Giving your employees a break but not letting them deviate too much from the work day helps to reduce the gap in performance that is often the result of coming back from a long lunch break.

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