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Employers have a responsibility to discourage staff from having a “working lunch”

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MPs have recommended a daily breaktime of 75 minutes for school children, but should adult workers get the same lunch downtime? Lorna Davidson, CEO of short-term recruitment specialists, RedWigWam, shares her thoughts.

According to a group of MP’s, school children should have at least 75 minutes of break time every day. A study on fit and healthy childhood found that a short break time had a negative impact of concentration, health and social skills. So, what kind of impact is a “working lunch” having on adults working an eight-hour day?

According to a survey by Reed, 68% of people don’t take the full amount of time they are allocated at lunch – and two in three admitted not eating lunch at all.

We’ve all been guilty of replying to emails whilst balancing a sandwich in one hand to catch up with work on a busy day, but is this actually having a detrimental effect on our health and productivity?

Research has found that people who have proper breaks throughout the work day are more productive, less stressed, less likely to burn out and sleep better.

Lorna Davidson, CEO of short-term recruitment specialists, RedWigWam, comments:

“It’s impossible to be fully productive for eight hours a day, most of us tend to be most productive in the morning around 11am and decline rapidly around 4pm.

“Taking regular breaks is one of the best ways to boost productivity and help us feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. It’s also equally as important to take breaks when you are working remotely or from home, where it’s easy to forget and step away from what you’re doing.”

Lorna adds: “In my opinion, employers have a responsibility to actively discourage their staff working through their lunch. Many employees feel a sense of guilt for taking their allocated break time on a busy day and don’t want to be thought of negatively by their employer.

“Employers need to be really clear and instil the importance of taking a proper break in their workers. If they are worried about not completing all their work for the day, why is this? It’s important to be open and have a conversation about workloads if you think someone may feel under pressure or overworked.

“We encourage all our workers at RedWigWam HQ to take time away from their desks and many of the team go for a walk together at lunch, which is great for building up informal social networks.

“No one should feel judged for taking a lunch break. Getting away from our desk and not thinking about work for an hour is beneficial for our mental and physical wellbeing – and a refreshed and productive workforce is good news for any business.”