Just one in five UK workers still take the traditional lunch hour

Just one in five UK workers still take the traditional lunch hourOnly one in five workers in the UK still take the traditional lunch hour break; a stark contrast to France, which sees the lunch hour as a key part of the working day, a new survey by commercial property agency Savoystewart.co.uk claims. Digital marketers take the shortest breaks, taking a meagre average of 14-minutes, followed by recruiters and those in telesales. At the opposite end of the spectrum are media & communication professionals, who take almost their whole hour at 55 minutes. Some of the reasons cited for the shorter break were to please the boss, too much work to do, other colleagues don’t take lunch, there’s nowhere to go or one hour is too long. Half of those polled work right through their lunch break, 30 percent will take under 30 minutes off, 52 percent admit to eating over their desk most days and 27 percent deliberately take a shorter break to please their boss. Yet UK legislation actually allows for a 1 hour interrupted 20-minute rest break after working 6 hours+, and those who are under 18 are entitled to 30 minutes if working above 4.5 hours. Some work contracts may even allow for additional breaks alongside lunch, like tea breaks.

Many workers forget the importance of taking a lunch break as research has shown that working consistently for long periods isn’t good for your physical and mental well-being. Even a short 15-minute break away from the computer screen is a proven way to improve concentration levels for the rest of the day.

While the traditional lunch hour is dissappearing, overtaken by a culture of working longer hours and skipping lunches, recent research has shown that workers are increasingly drawn to jobs where there is some flexibility to the hours. For instance, according to the Institute of Leadership Management, 73% of managers are largely supportive of flexitime, and it was now standard practice at around 50% of companies.

Darren Best, CEO from Savoystewart.co.uk commented: “I openly encourage my employees to take a break, to move from their desk and have a walk at lunch time, as it impacts so positively on productivity. I am considering taking employees to a monthly gym session just to get them on their feet.”

To view all of the data click here.

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