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Bupa study on skipping lunch

Lead by example, don’t skip lunch

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If you’re not taking a regular break or time off for lunch during the workday, you may be setting a bad example for your staff.

A new UK-based study by Bupa found that less than a-third of office workers take a proper lunch break every day. A quarter of them say this is because they see their boss skipping lunch and “feel pressure to do the same.”

The weight of workload, however, as emerged as the top reason why employees are not taking a break (43%), while a similar number state that even when they do take a break, they continue to respond to work calls and emails.

These findings would likely resonate with workforce in Hong Kong (where office life has never been more stressful), Malaysia (where half of staff work on their daily commute) and Singapore (where they feel obliged to work long hours).

Laws in the UK require a 20-minute break when working six hours or more, which almost two-thirds of the employees surveyed are unable to commit to. In fact, 28% say they take no breather at all during their work day.

This, despite more than half of them admitting that skipping lunch puts them in a bad mood, while two in five say it makes them feel unproductive in the afternoon. Almost a third (30%) have felt physically ill at work after skipping lunch.

“Taking a proper break helps employees to stay alert, focused, and performing at their peak. While we appreciate everyone is very busy, employers should start 2015 as they mean to go on by recognising the importance of taking breaks, leading by example and not letting breaks fall by the wayside,” said Patrick Watt, corporate director at Bupa.

Image: Shutterstock

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