According to a new survey conducted by Viking, the office supply company, over two-thirds of UK workers are pressured to work through their lunch breaks, unpaid, due to unmanageable workloads and expectations created from their bosses. Are you one of them?
Chris Evans, SEO Marketing Manager Europe at Viking commented: “Employers have a legal obligation to ensure their staff are being given the correct amount of breaks dependent on how long they’re working. If it becomes apparent staff are often working through their break then the issue needs to be addressed.”
The survey asked 1,500 office workers and the responses found that many felt ‘they were expected to’ work through their lunch breaks. Some said that they wanted to ‘look busy’ in the eyes of their managers while a whopping 38% stated they simply have too much work to do in order to stop for lunch.
It’s not that lunch breaks aren’t long enough, (82% said they had a good lunch allowance), yet two thirds admitted to doing this at least once a week. If you add that up over the duration of a month, that includes lost time that isn’t paid for. Some (14%) of those asked say they do this daily. For the younger generation of 25-34 years old, this statistic was higher with 80% saying they work through breaks.
Evans continued, “Whether employees are being given too much work, or performance isn’t up to scratch, it’s not good for employee or employer if staff aren’t getting time to relax and regroup during the day.”
From those who were surveyed, 64% claimed their lunch breaks were ‘quite fulfilling’ but nearly the same amount said the wanted to relax more during this time. When asked what people would rather be doing during their lunchbreaks, 52% said they wanted to be left alone to eat in peace (we hear you on that one!) while the rest said:
- Reading – 28%
- Socialising – 20%
- Exercising – 19%
- Using a phone – 18%
- Shopping – 17%
- Social media – 15%
- Playing with pets – 11%
Despite your workload or perceived expectations, you are eligible to take a break during the working day. It is advised to do so, to get up and walk around and take time away from looking at your computer screens. Try to get into the habit of taking a small break every hour, to either get a glass of water or to use the rest room. When it is time for your lunch break, find a quiet spot if you have one or take a walk outside for some fresh air to help calm yourself before the second part of the day begins. You will feel better for it at the end of the day.