It seems that Brits today are so in love with their work that only a quarter of UK workers take an hour lunch break. Despite the fact that 87% of us see a lunch break as very important, 40% are taking less than the legal minimum with the overwhelming reason for this cited as desire to get through workload (67%).
Previously suspected reasons for the death of the lunch hour such as office culture (11%), pressure from management (8%) and wanting to make a good impression (5%) don’t even come close.
The study conducted by Hoegaarden further revealed that 20% of all UK workers take 5 minutes or less for a lunchbreak with one in ten never taking a break at all. This directly contravenes the legal minimum for a lunch break of 30 minutes. Only 1% don’t recognise the need for a lunchbreak at all and yet we can’t tear ourselves away from our desks.
Interestingly this last figure rose to 12% of those who work in rural areas and with a whopping 31% of rural workers taking less than 5 minutes lunch break it seems that contact with nature negates the need for a lunchbreak for some.
Death of lunch hour linked to nation's rising stress levels
The study, co-authored by psychotherapist Christine Webber and Hoegaarden is based on a MyVoice survey of 2000 adults nationwide, revealed that 30% of the UK population are suffering daily from serious stress, indicating a link between the nation’s rising stress levels and the death of the lunch hour.
Christine Webber says ‘Whether employees are seeking to improve take home pay or believe that working late signifies commitment and gets them noticed or promoted, Britain’s long hours culture is well established. However I believe that the tendency for people to work through their lunch break is unhealthy. I do not personally believe that individuals work harder if they forego lunch – quite the contrary. I am convinced that they are less effective if they don’t take breaks and also if they don’t eat properly. I think we should adopt the French idea of always stopping for lunch!’
The importance of an office retreat
Christine Webber goes on to say that working long hours without a break increases work-place stress, contributes to low morale in the organisation and has serious health and safety implications.
84% of Brits believe that stepping outside for some fresh air and getting in touch with nature instantly relaxes them.
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Notes to Editors
For further information or the full Urban Oasis report, please contact the Hoegaarden Press Office at Cow PR on 020 7684 6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Webber is a lifecoach and psychotherapist, a health writer and broadcaster as well as agony aunt on the new woman’s weekly magazine Full House.
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