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California's state supreme court has decided that employers need not ensure their employees take a lunch break. But the freedom to eat with a spoon in one hand and a document in the other is not the kind of payoff Rachel Levy wants from her work. After living in France for several years, where she became accustomed to everyone leaving their desk for at least half an hour to enjoy a tranquil lunch, who could blame her?  "As much as it pains me to admit that foreigners do things better than us," she said, "I have to hand it to them on this issue: The French know how to take a lunch break."

What's the Big Idea?

By deciding to take a midday break, and taste the food you are going to eat anyway, you will refresh your mind and have the opportunity to mingle with co-workers. You may even get some sunshine. "By taking those few moments to breathe," said Levy, "you come out feeling refreshed and invigorated. At work, time spent chatting with colleagues can lead to great ideas and cross-pollination between departments. And if you've broken bread with colleagues at lunch, it’s going to be easier to approach them in the professional sphere." Giving yourself a half-hour lunch will increase your productivity, not decrease it. 

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