Only 30% of UK workers take a proper lunch break away from their desk, according to a survey of 1,700 workers by the National Charity Partnership. Over three in ten workers said that having too much work to do was preventing them from taking a proper break away from their desk.
Other outcomes from this research were:
- 24% of workers worked through their lunch break.
- 46% spent their lunch break on the internet.
- One in eight of those surveyed blamed stress levels or their workplace “culture” on the reason why they felt the need to work through their lunch break.
- Women are more likely to spend their lunch break indoors. Only 15% go out in comparison to 35% of their male colleagues.
- Employees over the age of 24 were more likely to work through their lunch as 18-24 year olds.
The National Charity Partnership is a coalition of Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco. They warn that employees who are working through their lunch break are in danger of causing damage to their physical and mental health.
Work related stress led to nearly 10 million lost working days in 2014-15. Jenna Hall, the programme director for the National Charity Partnership said:
“Managers and staff have a joint responsibility to ensure regular breaks are taken during the working day.”
Employers Need to Change Office Culture and Lunch Break Habits
To counteract this unhealthy trend, employers are being encouraged to promote a culture where their employees are encouraged to take time away from their desks at lunchtime.
Charlotte Cross, director at the Better Health at Work Alliance suggests:
“Poor lunch habits result in just another form of presenteeism at best. It doesn’t gain any employer much. Conversely, encouraging healthy activity and nutritious eating is a proven quick win that boosts performance. With sitting as the new smoking, and around of third of UK adults on track to be obese within nine years, fixing lunch break habits shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Do you work through your lunch break? Does your employer encourage you to take time away from your desk? Share your thoughts with us here on the Office Supplies Blog or via our Twitter page or LinkedIn Group.