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Stop skipping your lunch break, you’re working entire days for free

Get out and smell the roses

When was the last time you really, truly, made the most of your entire lunch break? I’m betting on not recently and pretty infrequently, as a new study has proven that at least half of Brits skip their lunch break at least once a week – and we’re losing an soul crushing amount of downtime by doing so.

Workthere commissioned a workplace study of 2,007 Brits to figure out their office eating habits. Sad desk lunches are more the norm than the exception, with 52% saying they forego their lunch break at least once a week and more than a third saying they never leave the office for a culinary change of scenery.

lunch break

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In fact, it turns out that people spend an average of just 34 minutes away from their desk to refuel and Refinery29 figured out how that stacks up over an entire year. It’s not good news: according to their calculations, we’re losing out on 6,032 minutes. Which breaks down to roughly 100 hours. Which breaks down to 12 extra working days.

We’ve got a really bad track record of making the most of our work holiday allowance in the UK, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that we’re bad at taking our lunch breaks too. However it comes down to more than just culture, as 15% said they didn’t access to adequate kitchen facilities and a further 12% felt pressured to work through lunchtime.

lunch break

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The study also broke down which places and industries were most likely to grab a Pret and perch at their computer, rather than soak in the sunshine. HR professionals topped the list at 70%, with finance following closely behind at 68%. The arts and culture sector surprisingly came in at third place at 62%. Londoners were most likely to skip lunch out of anywhere else in the country, which comes as no surprise as it’s one of the most stressed cities in the UK.

Even though some workers give their lunch break a miss in favour of getting more things done, a quarter of people actually said that they felt they were more productive in the afternoon when they went for a stroll outside the office.

So the next time you’re breaking open your lunchbox, take a moment and step outside. You’ve got twelve days’ worth of free time to catch up on.

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