Regardless of what field you work in, whether or not employees feel engaged at work absolutely matters. Experts report “… only one in three employees are engaging at work,” and “… engagement affects productivity, happiness, and job satisfaction.”

Employee Engagement Leads to Increased Satisfaction & Productivity

The experts repeat what you already know: if employees are happy at work, which includes both what they do and who they work with, the employees are much more likely to be satisfied with your workday.

The question now becomes, how do workers become more engaged at their job?

Many feel the answer to this question could be as simple as taking a full lunch break. A study by Staffordshire University found that up to 82% of workers sometimes skip lunch, while most American workers opt to eat lunch at their desk to continue working during lunch more than half of the time.

However, according to research conducted by Tork, “employees who take a lunch break score higher on a wide range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction and productivity.”

People are not robots, and as a result, it is best for our well-being to take a breath. Nobody should be encouraged–or, worse, required–to skip lunch or respond to emails while he/she eats. We all need the breaks and to step away to get closer to those we work with and remind ourselves that we are more than our position.

Self-Care is the Answer

In many ways, engagement boils down to self-care.

Just like taking a lunch break is a form of self-care for workers, striving to make employees feel connected with their place of employment is a form of self-care for the company. In both scenarios, as an employee and as a company, gains are realized when employees feel less like an easily replaced cog in the wheel and more like an integral part of the company’s forward motion.

Humans aren’t designed to merely exist. The more an employee understands his/her role and importance at work and the more they take the time to bond with their fellow workmates, the more likely they’ll thrive and find satisfaction and happiness within their 9 to 5. “American companies lose $450 to $500 billion per year because of disengaged employees.” The sooner employees and employers see engagement as an asset and not a time-suck, the better.