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The average lunch “break” now consists of a round of texting, social media updates and an online shopping spree – and eating lunch at our desks, a study has revealed. Workers get through an average of two social media updates, send two personal text messages or emails and make one personal phone call, as well as shopping online, while eating “aldesko”.
Researchers found that workers also use their lunch break to pay bills or check their bank balance and enjoy a gossip with their colleagues.
It also emerged that the traditional lunch “hour” is a thing of the past, with workers only taking a break lasting an average of just 32 minutes each day.
And more than a third admit there are often days where they skip it altogether, with almost one in 10 even saying lunch breaks are frowned upon in their workplace.
Andrew Mann, Customer Director for The Co-operative Food, which commissioned the research to mark the launch of their revamped ‘Food to Go’ range this week, said:
”Workloads are increasing and Brits are becoming busier than ever in the office.
”But this seems to be bad news for lunch hours, with workers now taking half of that time for the midday break.
”And instead of making the most of the time to get out of the office, get some fresh air, have some fun and enjoy a leisurely bite, many are now squeezing errands, shopping and even banking into the break.
”However, getting out even for a few minutes each day is important to give you a chance to recharge your batteries.
”Even if all you do is nip down the road to grab a tasty sandwich, it’s giving you a bit of time to switch off from work for a while.”
The study, of 2,000 workers, revealed that checking Facebook is the most popular thing to do during a lunch break, followed by gossiping with colleagues, texting friends and catching up with the news in papers and magazines.
Other common things to do include running errands for the family, browsing football or showbiz news sites and searching for holidays online.
But this means almost half of workers stay at their desk to eat their food, while another 35% don’t venture further than their workplace canteen or kitchen.
And, although seven in 10 feel the need to get out of the office at lunch just to clear their head, worryingly a staggering 42% of workers claim they are too busy to get away from their desks to take a proper lunch break, while another four in 10 never use their full lunchtime allocation.
More than a third admit they have worked through lunch without even eating, because they have too much work on their plate.
Almost one in five even said that taking their full allocation for lunch is frowned upon in their workplace, while 18% said they end up working late if they do take their full lunchtime allocation.
Despite this, eight in 10 Brits look forward to their lunch break, with 28% saying it is often the best part of their working day.
And another 79% of people feel much better if they take a lunch break.
The study also revealed that while 55% of organised workers prepare their lunch the night before, 15% end up nipping out to the nearest shop to grab something.
Another seven per cent usually tuck into leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.
The classic ham sandwich was named the most popular lunch break food, followed by a cheese sandwich and a salad.
Other foods to feature in the top 10 include a chicken sandwich a baguette and tomato soup.
Andrew Mann added:
“28% of those surveyed said that lunchtime was the best part of their working day, and we want to encourage even more Brits to embrace their lunch break and make sure that they have fun, get some fresh air and, more importantly, enjoy something to eat.”
TOP TWENTY LUNCH BREAK TASKS
1. Check Facebook
2. Gossip with colleagues
3. Text friends
4. Read the paper/magazines
5. Go for a walk
6. Check my bank balance
7. Phone my partner
8. Run errands like picking up prescriptions, shopping for family dinner etc
9. Go shopping
10. Visit the bank
11. Check Twitter
12. Visit the post office
13. Pay bills online
14. Visit football news site
15. Shop online for clothes
16. Phone my mum
17. Look at holidays online
18. Phone friends
19. Meet up with friends who work nearby
20. Visit showbiz sites
THE TYPICAL LUNCH BREAK
Update one social media profile
Send one tweet
Visit one shopping website
Visit one football/sport related site
Make or receive one phone call
Send or receive two texts
Send or receive two emails
Carry out one personal admin task
MOST POPULAR LUNCH OPTIONS
1. Ham sandwich
2. Cheese sandwich
4. Chicken sandwich
5. Egg sandwich
6. Last night’s leftovers
8. Vegetable soup
9. Chicken wrap
10. Tomato soup