Federal Daily News
Fewer employees break for lunch, survey says
Do you take a lunch break?
A new survey from a talent and career management group finds that many workers are responding to today’s job pressures by skipping a real lunch break.
According to a new survey by Right Management, part of ManpowerGroup, 39 percent of employees say they eat lunch at their desk, another 28 percent say they seldom take any break all, and 14 percent said they broke for lunch “only from time to time.”
The firm surveyed 1,023 North American workers in September and October and asked: “Do you regularly take a break for lunch?”
Only 19 percent responded “yes, almost always,” meaning that overall, 81 percent of respondents reported not taking what used to be considered a “real” lunch break.
Right Management’s Tim Mooney said that from the results, “we might infer that far fewer employees are feeling comfortable enough with their work loads and demands to actually take time away to enjoy breaks for meals. This is yet another warning sign of the relentless stress experienced by workers in the U.S. and Canada.”
Mooney noted that not taking a real break means even if employees do eat lunch at their desks, they also must also monitor the phone, attend to email and do other work-related tasks.
Mooney said organizational culture often makes employees feel they ought to apologize for stepping out for even a half hour, and that the pressure and overwork associated with that may have longer-term consequences for health and engagement.
“We are definitely not talking about returning to the days of the three-martini lunch,” Mooney said. “But taking a break during the work day is still beneficial. Employees should use the time to refresh and re-energize, even if it means eating at their desk and then taking a walk just to get outside of their immediate work environment…if only for a short time.”