What Happened to the Work Lunch Hour?
Posted 03.08.2017 Matthew Taylor
The work lunch hour is under threat of extinction. A new survey has shown that many employed people in the UK skip it altogether. And a significant proportion of those who do take a lunch break, keep it brief: below 30 minutes. It’s not good for the long-term health of employees or the business. Happy and healthy workers make for the most productive ones.
Average lunch break just 34 minutes
The survey was conducted by Workthere, a flexible working space firm. It surveyed 2,000 employed UK adults about their work and lunch habits. The traditional hour lunch break has become increasingly uncommon. Respondents indicated that the average lunch break was 34 minutes long. But more than half of the workers reported that they skipped lunch breaks altogether.
Londoners were the worst offenders of such habits, followed by workers in Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich. And the worst departments for such habits were HR and finance. Skipping lunch is not a good habit to develop. Workers could simply do with the energy and nutrients a healthy lunch provides to keep them going throughout the day. And the downtime can be vital for mental function. Giving your brain time to rest, think and come back and tackle a problem in a new way can be very effective.
Getting out the office environment
Even those who do take a lunch break are all too often either rushing it or simply having it at their desk. Lethargy and lack of movement is not good for employee’s health either. A lunch break is an opportunity to stretch your legs and get out of the office, even if brief. The importance of avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can’t be underestimated for people’s health.
We all know a good regular lunch break would be good for our health on all counts, so why are people not taking them? Only 12 per cent of respondents said they felt pressured to work through their lunch. That’s more than you would like but not overwhelming.
The pressure from management should be the exact opposite. They should endeavour to create a culture that respects and encourages the office lunch hour. It’s like the old saying – work smarter, not harder. If employees take that bit of time out of their day to replenish and re-energise it can help improve their productivity and quality of work.
Attractive office catering
BioStore are experts in creating catering operations that are enticing and attractive to employees. We create catering operations that are simple to use, speedy and efficient. We believe a good lunch break for employees is good for the health of them and of an organisation. Find out more here about BioStore’s cashless catering for organisations.