Lunch is a necessary part of any workday. But often people return to work feeling sleepier than when they left. Well, there’s a new way to beat that post-lunch-laziness. Instead of taking your break at the drive-thru… hit the dance floor!
It’s about 12 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, and the Frannz Club in Berlin is full. Not with the typical 20-something hipsters, but with middle-aged workers on their lunch breaks. Some wear suits. Some wear sneakers. All of them strut their stuff on the dance floor.
Martin Berkel manages a team of electrical engineers, and he’s brought them to the club. Is it embarrassing to dance with your co-workers?
“Well, we just got here. We haven’t danced yet. But the first four guys are already on the dance floor. They look a little shy but I think they’ll get there somehow,” he says.
Berkel and his colleagues have come here as a kind of team-building exercise, but others — like job consultant Petra Leitmeir — came to make new connections.
“I never have been dancing in the middle of the day except in my own living room, but it’s something different you know? And people may use these kind of parties as a networking opportunity,” says Leitmeir.
This lunch-time disco — or “Lunch Beat” as it’s known — is new to Berlin, but it’s already established in many other cities around the world. The idea started in Sweden in 2010 as a way for health-conscious office workers to break up the monotony of work and get a little exercise. Since then, clubs and even corporations like Microsoft have begun hosting these one-hour afternoon dance sessions.
Ola der Schwede is the deejay at Lunch Beat Berlin. He says the idea is simple.
“It’s a party at an unusual time and it’s unusually short, but it’s a party. You go dancing. Basta. But we don’t serve any alcohol and the food involved is what is called ‘brain food,'” says der Schwede.
If you want beer or cocktails, you’re out of luck. But healthy stuff — like energy bars, fruit, or fresh juices — are always on hand. Ola der Schwede says this kind of activity can help make workers more productive after lunch. But Lunch Beat is not all about business.
“It’s great for flirting and for coming in contact,” says Vanessa del Rae, a sex coach. She comes to Lunch Beat for the physical effects.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling energized and I’m happy and laughing and sweating and it’s a good feeling for the rest of the day,” says del Rae.
As the Lunch Beat wraps up, engineer Martin Berkel takes a break from dancing with his coworkers. He says they’ve loosened up a lot since they first got here. Some are sweating and smiling. Berkel says he’ll definitely come back with his team and he’d also recommend Lunch Beat to other managers looking for a way to spice things up.
“I think it’s especially in a conservative environment like we are working or in a conservative company, I think it’s a lot of fun to see them actually dancing and having fun and going out and wild. So if they are also going to be more productive, I don’t know, but at least they’ve seen themselves and the rest of the team in a different environment and I think that will help,” says Berkel.
Whether or not it helps to dance with your boss is… debatable. But people at Lunch Beat Berlin do seem to have a lot more swing to their step than when they walked in.