An occasional work lunch can be an effective way to extend your workday and get more done. It also provides an opportunity to get acquainted with a colleague or a client away from the bustle of your workplace. However, a working lunch comes with challenges of its own, so it is best to be prepared before scheduling one at a local eatery. Here are a few tips.
Reserve a Private Dining Area
Many restaurants offer the option of scheduling side dining areas or private rooms for a business luncheon. Find out if one is available at a favorite restaurant, such as an Italian private dining establishment. Try to visit the place ahead of time to ensure the private areas are adequate for your purposes.
Consider the Surroundings
Even in a private dining area, you may be seated next to other diners who noisily chat or conduct their own business meeting. Make sure there is enough privacy and space to keep your business confidential. Check lighting for clear visibility at your table, especially if documents like reports or drafts will be discussed. The background music, if any, should be low enough to allow clear conversation.
Avoid Prime Time
The busier the restaurant is, the noisier it will be, so avoid scheduling your meal at peak times. Schedule your luncheon before noon or after one, if possible. That way you can avoid the lunch crowd. This way, you likely won’t have to wait to be seated. There will also be less general noise in the restaurant and an emptier private dining area. Parking may be easier as well if you avoid the noon rush.
Plan an Agenda
Just because you are working at lunchtime does not mean that things will go smoothly or productively. Whether working alone to catch up on computer word processing or meeting a colleague or client, your lunch time is valuable and should be planned with objectives in mind. It’s fine if you don’t meet all your goals, but at least have a sense of direction to keep things moving.
Order a Work-Conducive Meal
Avoid messy items or an extensive meal with several courses. Stick to easy-to-eat foods, such as salads, sandwiches, or something you can easily cut with a fork. You may want to skip an appetizer or dessert, as these may prolong the luncheon beyond your planned agenda. Added calories and sugar could likewise result in a carbohydrate overload, which could lower your energy level and cause sleepiness.
Lunchtime work can provide a nice change of pace, but it also comes with it’s own set of challenges. Plan ahead and be organized to get things done while getting a good meal.
Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing.