How taking creative lunch breaks are becoming the norm

Meditation instead of cheeseburgers

Is a slice of pizza or a cheeseburger at the canteen how you take time off from your job? This is an example of what has been a common lunch break in many companies. But things are changing. Employers are increasingly committed to providing employees with unusual breaks from their daily routine, from sports programs to corporate discos to meditation. Here’s an overview of what’s being offered and what you might want to bring to the table.


Take the elevator to the canteen? Boring! At Emz-Hanauer, the electrical supplier, employees can make their way into the cafeteria on a slide – just like at Google in Zurich. “We want to promote creative and efficient work,” says company boss Thomas Hanauer.


At the Otto Group, a lunch break ends with dancing in the club. The company has been offering its employees an extraordinary lunch break for approximately three years. These include concerts, plays, comedy performances – or even a lunchtime disco. The idea to dance during your break comes originally from Stockholm and is used to help stressed employees take a break from their thoughts.


Not only large corporations, but even many small and medium-sized companies are providing a sports program for their employees. Working out during lunch breaks is especially useful for employees who would otherwise have to make a long detour to the gym after the workday. It’s no surprise that Adidas allows employees to choose from a wide range of sporting activities, with a choice of 300 courses and a 43,000-square-foot gym.


A lunchtime nap is not just for small children and retirees. Because a short nap has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and can increase efficiency by 35 percent, some companies are no longer frowning upon napping between meetings and paperwork. For example, Unilever and Google have provided “rest-rooms”, where their employees can rest on loungers and even get massages. If you are not lucky enough to have a company rest-room, you can close your eyes in Berlin at “nap”, Germany’s first Powernap store. Half an hour of relaxation including earplugs and sleeping mask is available here for eight euros.


Ommm instead of pizza: For some time, SAP has been focusing on mindfulness courses in which the employees learn to meditate, among other things. In addition to companies, meditation centers or educational institutions in various cities offer meditation exercises during the lunch break. When in a pinch, there are also apps that promise to put the mind at rest: 7Mind or Headspace, for example.


Large companies, such as BMW and Deutsche Bahn, are providing prayer room facilities for the religious among their employees at some locations. Here they can withdraw and relax during their lunch breaks. In addition, some churches in Germany also offer a special lunch, every Tuesday, for example, in the St. Jacobi Church in Hamburg.


An employer typically does not help in their employees’ search for great love. However, in some workplaces, a blind date can be provided at random. At the pharmaceutical manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, you can register on an internal online platform and then let the random generator select a lunch date for you. With more than 8000 employees located at headquarters, the chances that you know your lunch date are very slim. At the least, you can expand your network, and perhaps even find that special someone.


This type of lunch break means less relaxation and more thrill: In the exit-the-room games, for example, participants have to free themselves from a locked room within 60 minutes – and solve tricky tasks. The provider is thus promoting team spirit amongst the participants.

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