The researchers observed employees who went out for an hour to have their lunch and found that they often returned to work less focused and had reduced cognitive function which made it harder for them to tackle detailed and complicated tasks and to spot mistakes.
On the other hand employees who had their lunch at their work desks were mentally sharper. However the researchers added that those who went out for lunch were mentally more relaxed than those who ate at their desks. The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"We conclude that the restaurant meal - but not the office meal - appears to be relaxing and seems to reduce cognitive control processes for a while. One may have expected more "positive" effects on the psychological processes of the participants who ate in the restaurant situation. However, the attenuation of cognitive control may be negative for certain purposes but not all", the researchers wrote in their report.