Since When Did the Lunch Hour Become Less Than an Hour?!

According to a survey carried out by Wonderful Pistachios in the UK, 25% of 2000 participants cited shorter lunch hours as being the main factor as to why they ate the same lunch meals every day. The fact that working professionals are becoming busier has not only led to a significant number of employees reducing their lunch hour (or for some - cutting it out altogether), but it has forced many employees into eating poor diets – causing them to be less healthy and more susceptible to illnesses.

The fall of the 60 minute lunch ‘hour’

As reported by the Daily Mail, a mere one in five employees takes the full 60 minutes for their one-hour lunch break. Most employees admit to taking less than 30 minutes despite having an hour lunch break in their employment contracts.

In 2012, the average lunch break was 33 minutes long, where as now, it is 29 minutes. Workers say they are simply too busy to take an hour out of their schedules.

But being busy is just one reason why so many employees avoid taking the full hour at lunch. Another reason is that employees want to impress their managers by taking less time off for lunch. Reportedly 1 in 7 employees believe that eating their lunch quickly at their desks then getting straight back to work (or worse, eating their lunch while working!) will get them in the manager’s good books. And it seems to work! Employees’ claim that those who take a full lunch hour are often left to feel less committed than those who eat at their desks and continue with their work.

Risks of eating while you work…

Workers who do opt to eat lunch at their desk are causing a breeding ground for bacteria. Crumbs that are naked to the eye can generate viruses and cause you to become sick – is the risk really worth it? If not for their own sanity but for health reasons alone, employees should make the effort to take some time away from their desks to eat their lunch in peace.

Who is worst off?

The study shows that workers within the agricultural industries and armed forces are worst off when it comes to lunch breaks, with a shocking average of 16 minutes taken for lunch.

Employees between the ages of 18-24 reportedly skip lunch an average of 6 times per month. Those aged 18-24 years also tend to take an average of 28 minutes for lunch when they do take a break.

Who values lunchtime?

The profession you are in and the place you work can actually determine how much value you will place on lunch breaks. For example, doctors will skip lunch on average 10 times per month and when they do take a break, they usually spend a mere 10 minutes eating lunch. Professionals in the veterinary field on the other hand skip lunch the least number of times per month, with an average of 2 times.

Professionals working in Wolverhampton tend to skip lunch the most, with 7 skipped lunches on average, while those working in Oxford place a greater importance on lunch meals and only skip them on average 3 times per month.

Do you take your full lunch hour?