Lunch At Your Desk

Lunch At Your Desk

lunch at your desk

Many workers feel unable to leave their desk for lunch, and it could be bad for your health

Various studies have revealed that large numbers of people feel unable to take a proper lunch break. A 2015 study by healthcare provider Bupa showed that more than one quarter of UK workers (28%) never took any form of formal lunch break. Almost one third (31%) said they would normally eat lunch at their desk. The traditional ‘lunch hour’ – stopping work for a full 60 minutes – is a luxury now enjoyed by only 29% of employees.

Almost half of respondents (45%) said that they didn’t take a proper lunch break due to the pressure of work. Nearly one quarter (24%) said that they felt uneasy downing tools as their boss didn’t take lunch and they consequently felt under pressure to follow their example.

It is actually a legal requirement to be allowed a break of at least 20 minutes when working for a continuous period of six hours or longer.

Eating your meals at your desk could be harming your health. Aside from the fact that you’re not getting any exercise by staying at your desk, the very fact that you don’t leave your desk means that you could end up eating more as you snack your way through a long working day.

A 2016 survey by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco, suggested that the majority of UK workers don’t leave the office at lunchtime. In this study, the proportion of employees saying that they ‘worked through’ their lunchtime was almost one quarter.

Babs Evans, head of prevention for the National Charity Partnership, highlighted other possible health issues that the ‘al desko’ lunch culture might be causing, by commenting:

“When you’re under pressure at work it’s easy to forego a lunch break and instead grab a quick bite at your desk, but this isn’t healthy.

“Work-related stress puts a strain on your mental wellbeing and can have a knock-on effect on your physical health. People under too much pressure at work are more likely to eat unhealthily and stop being active: behaviours which are linked to a number of health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.

“Even just a 10-minute break away from your desk to go for a walk and clear your head can help to make a big difference with stress relief, which in turn is good for your health.”

Ask yourself if it would really do that much harm to take a short lunch break, even if you feel you can only manage 20 minutes?

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