A not so healthy lunch hour!

An increasing number of UK workers are not taking their full hour lunch break at work, with 59% of employees only managing to take a thirty minute break.

Research from Benenden revealed that only one fifth of employees take their full lunch hour, and one in four employees eat at their desk five times a week, with 40% of those blaming ‘too much work.’

Staff in the South East of England and East Anglia had the shortest lunch breaks, in contrast to 40% of those in Scotland, who took their full lunch hour.

Despite heavy literature and increased awareness surrounding health and wellbeing, only seven per cent of workers choose to exercise in their free time. Over half of the respondents (56%) cited work as an obstacle to keeping active, with more than 73% of people saying that their employer fails to encourage it.

Employees also admit to spending an average of £5 a day on lunch, with popular choices being sandwiches (59%) followed by food from home (54%). Naughty treats also crept onto the list, with fast food options such as burgers chosen by eight per cent, sweets (19%), pasties (seven per cent) and cakes (15%).

Helen Smith, Business Development Director at Benenden, comments: “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.”