CFOs Have Forgotten About Lunch

August 1, 2003 ( - The way to a Chief Financial Officer's (CFO) heart may no longer be through his or her stomach, since taking a lunch has taken a back seat to getting work done.

When asked “on average, how many days a week do you work through lunch?” CFOs responded to three, meaning the majority of the week’s lunches are spent chained to a desk.   However, while on the surface this may appear productive, Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources – the firm that conducted the survey – says this may not always be the case.

“Working through lunch is increasingly common for executives faced with greater responsibilities that must be managed with fewer resources,” McDonald said in a statement. “But too many hours spent without a break can take its toll on job performance.”

Instead,  McDonald points out several business advantages of taking a midday repast:

  • Business development – a separate Robert Half study showedCFOs think some of their most successful business meetings outside the office were conducted over a meal. 
  • Networking – schedule time for lunch appointments with colleagues and others in your industry to share ideas and best practices.
  • Workplace productivity – regularly skipping lunch can cut into productivity.   Instead, when stopping for lunch is not feasible, take short breaks throughout the day to recharge.
  • A new attitude – achange of scenery can spur new ideas and give you a fresh perspective on current business challenges.

The survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of US companies with more than 20 employees.