‘Low Lunch Input Damages Business Output’, Claims Survey
The demise of the British lunch hour could be putting the country’s economy at risk.
The claim follows research showing that almost 90 per cent of the country’s office workers no longer take the time they’re allowed for a mid-day break.
A survey by Employment Law Advisory Services found that a similar number ate lunch at their desks, resulting in staff feeling increased levels of stress, entailing lower productivity.
ELAS is now urging bosses to save the lunch hour from extinction. The firm’s head of consultancy, Peter Mooney, said: “The days of office tea trolleys are long gone, making a mid-day break to eat and stretch your legs even more important.
“We are calling for a return to common sense here. Employers must realise that staff staying at their desk may appear eager and committed but if they fail to take decent break during the day that could have an adverse effect on the whole business.
The ELAS survey discovered that only 12 per cent of Britain’s office staff bother to take a full hour away from the office for lunch, while more than half (52 per cent) took less than 30 minutes.
Four per cent of those who said they leave their desks to get lunch eat it on the way back to the office.
The study found that many individuals who lunch in the office are not able to eat in peace, being constantly interrupted by e-mails and telephone calls.
As well as indigestion, experts believe eating food at their desks increases the opportunity for unhealthy bacteria to thrive.
Mr Mooney said it was vital to reclaim the lunch hour. “People whose entire days are spent at their desk cannot really switch off and successive studies such as ours have demonstrated that it can make them less relaxed, more stressed and, therefore, less able to deliver a good day’s work.
“Managers need to take the lead because sometimes staff feel guilty and under pressure from the boss if they leave their desks for any length of time. There are occasions, of course, when it’s not necessarily possible to have a full lunch hour.
“However, ensuring staff take a full lunch break when it is, can promote good health as well as making people more motivated and committed to success in the workplace.”
For more information or interviews with Peter Mooney, contact Barry Gregory at Mason Media on 0151 239 5057/ 07961 791468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.