How can employers change this?
The average worker in the UK now only takes 34 minutes for their lunch break, with more than half skipping their lunch break entirely – a significant change from the traditional hour-long break. Londoners are the most likely to skip their lunch break, closely followed by Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich. This is evident from new research from Workthere.
Workthere commissioned a survey of over 2,000 full-time workers across the UK on their lunch habits to find out how long it actually takes them to have lunch. The results show that office workers eat lunch at their desk an average of four days a week. Even when they take a break, they often don’t leave the office. Over a third of those surveyed said that they seldom leave the office at noon. In addition, 12 percent agreed that they felt the pressure to work through their lunch break.
Workthere was also interested in understanding how the office environment affects these lunchtime statistics, noting that more than a third of those surveyed said that having access to outside space at lunchtime would increase productivity at work. 32 percent said it was a quiet area to escape to would make a difference in the time they spend on their lunch break.
“We have seen wellness become firmly established on the workplace agenda and employers are increasingly realizing the benefits of making sure employees are satisfied, happy, and most importantly, healthy. Part of that is creating a productive office environment where employees feel comfortable taking a long lunch break and interacting with colleagues, ”said Cal Lee, founder and director of Workthere.
Workthere is seeing the trend of providing employees with a variety of areas to enjoy their breaks, especially in the service and flexible office space, with vendors looking to meet a range of different needs. Examples are: outside space; Roof terraces; a subsidized canteen; Quiet areas and even lunchtime activities to encourage staff to move away from their desks.