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- Workplace health expert says hairdressers are setting the right example for the UK in today’s shaky economy

Hairdressers have overtaken builders for taking the most tea breaks, but many workers do not have time to stop for a cuppa, according to new research published today.

A survey of 1,400 workers showed that two-thirds of hairdressers and beauty therapists made sure they had time for three tea breaks of up to 15 minutes every day.

Most builders had only two breaks for a drink, taking less than half an hour a day, said the report by snacks firm Nutri-Grain.

One in five workers said they never took a break for a cup of tea or a snack, especially those employed in human resources departments.

Professor Cary Cooper, workplace health expert from Lancaster University, says today’s culture of not taking breaks could not only be adversely affecting workers’ well being but also their productivity.

He added: “There is an inherent negativity attached to workers who take tea breaks in the modern working culture which is short sighted and could be undermining our productivity.

“The UK has one of the longest working hours in the developed world, and employees are working harder and more intensely given the global competitive pressures. In addition, the downturn in the economy means that people are feeling less job secure, which translates into working even longer hours and taking fewer breaks.

“As a consequence, individuals more than ever before need to take time out to have something to eat and drink away from their workplace during the working day.”

The nationwide survey by Nutri-Grain also revealed on average 40pc of all workers get annoyed with colleagues who they feel take too many breaks – in particular lawyers and barristers who also feel the most guilt when taking a break.

Professor Cooper added: “Workers are getting annoyed with their co-workers because they would like to take breaks but feel too overloaded with work and pressure. The fact is they need to take a break.

“They are being foolish not to do so and shouldn’t be critical of their colleagues who have the good sense and confidence to get some critical rest and recuperation which will ultimately make them more productive workers. In the end they will be judged on their output not their presenteeism.”

Visit to find out how you can enjoy your break time.

Notes to editors:

The research conducted by Nutri-Grain is a nationwide UK survey of 1400 workers, commissioned to find out the tea breaking habits across gender, age, city and industry.

It was conducted on behalf of snacks provider Nutri-Grain by OpinionMatters/

For further information, images and interviews please contact Louise Davies, Assistant Communications Manager, Kellogg’s Press Office, on 0161 869 2942 or e-mail

About Professor Carey Cooper:

Cary L. Cooper is a Director of Robertson Cooper Ltd and Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health, Lancaster University Management School and Pro Vice Chancellor (External Relations) at Lancaster University. He is the author of over 100 books (on occupational stress, women at work and industrial and organizational psychology), has written over 400 scholarly articles for academic journals, and is a frequent contributor to national newspapers, TV and radio.

About Nutri-Grain:

Nutri-grain is one of the UK’s leading mid morning and afternoon snacking brands. Products in the range include Soft Bakes, Oat Baked bars, Elevenses and Soft Oaties.

Further research results:

Women take more tea breaks than men (35% compared to 28)

Most people gossip with colleagues on their breaks – 46%

- People in Cardiff are the biggest gossipers – 60%
- Londoners surf the net the most – 46%
- Hairdressers are the worst gossipers – 100%, next were doctors and nurse – 70% and lawyers – 64%

Lawyers are the most regimented when it comes to time – 100% take 6-10 mins

Women get more annoyed at colleagues taking too many tea breaks
Older workers( 55+) are more relaxed about colleagues taking tea breaks with 61% saying they are not bothered
People from Southampton, Plymouth and Newcastle are the least sympathetic towards tea breaking colleagues
Professional drivers are the most relaxed – 77% not bothered by colleagues taking breaks – yet they take the least
Lawyers are the least sympathetic – 50% get annoyed sometimes and 36% are annoyed all the time!

53% say breaks help them concentrate throughout the day
Younger people benefit most (16-24) with 70% saying breaks help them concentrate

75% of people don’t feel guilty about taking tea breaks
Men feel less guilty than women
Older people (55+) are the most militant with 87% refusing to feel guilty about tea breaks
80% of the 45-54 age group also refuse to feel guilty

48% of people drink tea on their breaks
Men drink more coffee on their breaks than women
Glaswegians and people from Southampton are the biggest coffee drinkers
On average Londoners drink more tea than Northerners.

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