Are lunch-breaks important for staff health?
- Date: Monday 10th July 2017
- PDF: Download
It has previously been reported that only 30% of UK employees take lunch away from their desk, with a quarter of desk-diners working and half browsing the internet – but is this a healthy practice?
The impact of desk-dining
Expectations from employers
- Rest breaks (such as lunch breaks)
- Daily rest (11 hours between working days)
- Weekly breaks of either 24 hours uninterrupted per week, or 48 hours each fortnight.
A 20-minute rest break must be given to employees working for six hours or longer.
Employees should take breaks in the middle of the day, and be allowed to spend their break away from their workstation.
The importance of lunchbreaks for workers
- Get things done. Taking a proper lunch will allow you to catch up on life administration or run some errands, giving you more time in the evening to relax.
- Eat a nutritious lunch. Your lunchbreak gives you a brilliant opportunity to take in essential nutrients to keep you going for the rest of the day.
- People with an hour-long lunch have time on their side to sneak in a lunchtime workout during their lunch, but even with the minimum 20 mins you can take a stroll, up your step count and enjoy some fresh air.
Encouraging employees to take their lunch-breaks
- Lead by example: If your employees see you working through lunch, they may feel like this is expected of them too.
- Create a workplace environment that encourages employees to take breaks.
- Designate a space in your workplace – such as a kitchen or dining room – that employees can go to to get away from their desks.
- Supply healthy snacks to encourage a culture of healthy eating to accompany a healthier attitude to taking breaks.
- Provide distractions from phones and screens. If you have room in your designated break space, include light reading materials (magazines and newspapers) and other forms of entertainment, so workers can relax free from screens in a dedicated environment.
- Encourage additional breaks. There are stressful moments in everyone’s jobs, so make it clear to employees that if they need to take an extra break for some fresh air, they can – and that their lunchbreak will be unaffected.