HR · 21 July 2017

London staff are most likely to skip lunch and eat at their desk

Some 12 per cent of office workers said they felt pressure to continue working in their lunch hour
Some 12 per cent of office workers said they felt pressure to work in their lunch hour

The average British worker now takes an average lunch break of 34 minutes, with just over half of all staff revealing they regularly skip lunch entirely, new research has shown.

London’s workers are the most likely to skip lunch than those in any other part of the UK, followed closely by staff in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich.

Polling the lunchtime behaviour of over 2,000 full-time workers, a study carried out by co-working space service Workthere revealed a significant shift in modern UK workplaces away from employees taking the traditional one hour break in the middle of the working day.

The results of the study showed that most office workers ate lunch at their desks on average of four days a week, with 12 per cent admitting they felt pressure to continue working throughout their lunch hour.

Some 34 per cent of individuals questioned said that they take a 21 to 30 minute lunch break on average, whilst 13 per cent admitted to taking just 20 minutes or less.

When they do take a break, many office workers don’t even breath fresh air, with 37 per cent of those surveyed claiming they very rarely go outside during a lunch period.

The research demonstrated the importance of office design and the overall working environment on employee wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Over a third of workers polled said that having greater access to outdoor space during lunchtime would make them more productive, whilst 32 per cent claimed that having a quiet area to go and relax in would improve the quality of time spent on their lunch break.

Commenting on the statistics, Workthere founder Cal Lee said: “We have seen wellness establish itself firmly on the workplace agenda with employers increasingly recognising the benefits of ensuring staff are content, happy and most importantly, in good health.

“Part of this is creating a productive office environment where employees feel comfortable taking a longer lunch break and engaging with colleagues.”

The research also outlined the sectors in which staff were most likely to skip lunch, with HR coming out on top. Some 70 per cent of HR professionals don’t take a break during the average working day, whilst 68 per cent of finance workers skip lunch altogether, as do 62 per cent of employees working in art and cultural industries.

Britain’s overworked small business owners take fewer than six days off a year

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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