New research by Yell has revealed that almost one million British employees never take a lunch break. Despite all employees being entitled to one uninterrupted break of 20 minutes per six-hour shift, a further 1.6million take just a ten-minute break during their working day.
It has been found that many UK workers are taking an average of just 32 minutes for their lunch, while just 17% of those asked take between 51 minutes and an hour for their lunch.
Forget being “too busy” to take a lunch break. Studies show that taking a lunch break allows your mind to rest, recharge and refocus, which can directly improve your productivity for the rest of the day. Taking time out during the day – even if you choose to have multiple, short breaks – this gives your brain a chance to recuperate.
Mark Clisby, Chief Marketing Officer at Yell commented:
“As a nation we’re busier than ever before and often our health takes a back seat. To consistently deliver high performance, we must ensure we’re keeping our bodies healthy, getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks during the working day.”
But with 34% of UK employees eating lunch at their desks and 30% eating lunch in the confines of their work canteen or kitchen, there is no surprise that they are getting burnt-out.
The study found that 19million workers aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep – which stands between seven and nine hours for those aged between 18 and 65-years-old – with an average of 6.01 hours per night.
45% of respondents admitted to sleeping between five and six hours per night, while two per cent confessed to sleeping less than an hour per night.
“Consider small changes to long-standing bad habits. If you’re somebody like me who struggles to take a lunch break, or eats at their desk, commit to stepping outside your workplace and getting some fresh air and exercise.
“When this becomes the ‘norm’ and you’re getting at least 20 minutes’ break, you’ll go back to work feeling refreshed and with a positive outlook for the rest of your day.”
Employers should absolutely allow for lunch and actively encourage employees to take their breaks, particularly a full lunch break. But employers should also aim to plan ahead and provide healthy balanced meals and snacks in their canteens. Foods that help brain power include nuts (especially almonds), dark chocolate and blueberries. You’ll get the most out of your employees if you do – and that’s better news for everyone.