One-third of workers eat lunch at their desk

Equal amount rarely take lunch break: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/30/2011

One-third (34 per cent) of employees regularly have lunch at their desk, according to a survey by Right Management, workforce consulting experts within ManpowerGroup. But another one-third (31 per cent) take no lunch, or only occasionally.

“The pressure for productivity and performance can be relentless,” said Michael Haid, senior vice-president of talent management at Right Management. “This pressure is showing up in various ways, like our finding that one-in-three employees are very likely now in the habit of taking lunch at their computers and phones and with supervisors and colleagues. So whether it’s a true break is open to question.”

As for the 31 per cent of the 751 North American workers surveyed who rarely take a lunch break, “one has to wonder how many workers actually leave the workplace and get a chance to clear their heads,” he said. “I wonder if the reluctance to take a break is an expression of devotion or a negative consequence of the unrelenting pressure some organizations are exerting on their workforces to get more done with fewer resources.”

The workplace culture or management’s example might make workers feel compelled to stay at their desks, said Haid.

“Employees may feel they have to apologize for stepping out but, in the long run, this kind of company culture does not help improve performance or engagement.”

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