Skipping lunch? Most people do – and business takes the hit

A US study showed 81% of people don’t take a proper break in the day

Hazel Sheffield
Friday 06 March 2015 15:35
Comments
A lunchbreak is said to improve productivity and creativity in the workplace. No news on whether the same can be said for a pint.
A lunchbreak is said to improve productivity and creativity in the workplace. No news on whether the same can be said for a pint.

Employees are increasingly shying away from taking a proper break from work during the day, a new study shows, which may impact creativity and productivity in the workplace.

A recent poll of over 1000 North American employees showed that 81 per cent do not take what would have been considered a traditional lunch break, by stepping away from their desk in the middle of the day.

Those who do not take a break often feel their productivity plummet around 3pm. Research has shown that even active workers that do not take a break are also at a greater risk of heart disease.

Right Management, the consultancy who conducted the study, said that the results show fewer employees feel comfortable enough with the work demanded of them to take a break, which could indicate rising stress levels.

BUPA, the private healthcare company, has conducted research showing that in the UK just three in ten people take their allotted hour. This results in lost productivity that costs small businesses £50 million a day.

Half of those surveyed said the weight of their workload was too great to justify a break.

Dr. Jenny Leeser, BUPA clinical director of occupational health, said that 21 per cent of those in the UK study drank five or more caffeinated drinks a day to prop them up, when a lunch break would serve them better.

“Taking an entire hour for lunch can often be difficult, and is not necessarily the best way to keep productivity levels up. Best practice is for employees to take breaks -often in the form of a change of activity- at regular intervals throughout the day to help stay alert and focused,” Dr Lesser said.

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