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Survey reveals we are a ‘nation’ of workers in our breaks

New research released by health and wellbeing provider Benenden reveals that UK workers’ lunch hours are dying out, as a large number of employees continue to work through what was traditionally a break from the working routine, despite not being paid for it.

The survey of 2,000 UK workers revealed that 42 per cent of employees do not take their full lunch hour, with 59 per cent admitting to taking even less than 30 minutes.

The research also found that workers aren’t maximising the little time they do take as one in four admit to eating at their desk five times a week and 40 per cent of those surveyed blamed ‘too much work’ as the reason for them eating at their workstation. In fact, the survey revealed that only one fifth of those in work, take their full lunch hour.

Despite a boom in healthy living, there are only a small minority of workers (7 per cent) who choose to exercise in their down-time. Fifty-six per cent of respondents stated that work gets in the way of keeping active, with more than 73 per cent of people saying that their employer doesn’t actively encourage it.

Opting for convenience over health, 59 per cent of those surveyed choose to eat sandwiches, 54 per cent said that they brought in food from home, whilst others went for much unhealthier options such as burgers and fast food (8 per cent), sweets (19 per cent), pasties (7 per cent) and cakes (15 per cent).

Commenting on the findings, Helen Smith, business development director at Benenden said:

“It’s widely recognised that workers need to ensure they take a break – whatever they are allowed – and get away from their desks. Not only from an eating lunch point of view and building up energy levels, but also to refresh the mind and have time to refocus on the afternoon ahead.

“Employers should also take their share of the blame. Workplaces vary in the amount of time given to employees for their lunch breaks and the traditional hour appears to be dying out. Employers should also ensure their workplace policies encourage a proper lunch break, whatever the length of time allowed.”

To see the full breakdown of UK’s Lunchtime Habits survey visit www.benenden.co.uk/lunch-hour/

About Sarah OBeirne

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