23 August 2011 #Employment
The results of the Aviva Health in the Workplace survey published this week show that almost 1 in 3 (30%) of workers are unlikely to regularly take a lunch break during the working day. Although this number is still high, it has fallen by 7% since the 2009 survey results were received.
As well as the third who regularly don`t take their lunch break, a further 25% will not have a break if their workload is high.
Whilst the figures above suggest that a significant number of workers appear to be not eating at all during the workday, 19% of workers say that they overeat whilst at work. This may be coupled by the fact that 38% of employers who offer food to their staff provide mainly unhealthy choices.
"It`s important for people to take a break from their desks where possible as this can help improve both morale and efficiency for employees... Employees too need to break the habit of skipping lunch or eating at their desks. A cultural shift in the workplace towards proper lunch breaks will improve overall employee wellbeing as well as productivity." says Dr Doug Wright, Head of Clinical Development for Aviva UK Health. "Employers can help by offering healthy food options to support and encourage their staff to eat well, and by removing those barriers that still exist to taking a proper lunch break. Employees too need to break the habit of skipping lunch or eating at their desks. A cultural shift in the workplace towards proper lunch breaks will improve overall employee wellbeing as well as productivity."
It is important for employers to provide staff with a break of at least 20 minutes during the working day (when the worker has spent more than 6 hours working) as a failure to do so may be in breach of the Working Time Regulations, as well as affecting morale and potentially leading to increased sickness absence as employees health may suffer. The Regulations apply to anyone who has entered into or works under any contract to do or perform personally any work or services.
Employment Buddy had a handy guide to the Working Time Regulations available to full subscribers to the site available here.