No Image Available

Death of the lunch break spells health and safety issues

pp_default1

A new poll reveals that the traditional lunch hour is dead, with 73 per cent of office workers skipping lunch on a regular basis and 71 per cent saying they are simply too busy to take a break.

The poll, carried out by Peninsula BusinessWise, surveyed 764 office-based employees from a variety of industries across the UK.

But being too busy to take a break is a bad move according to Peninsula MD Peter Done.

“The issue of office based employees not taking lunches is a more serious one than it may first appear,” he explains. “The common misconception that if someone spends time at their desk rather than out on their lunch they are therefore getting more work completed is a false belief.

“If a member of staff remains working at their desk it will have a detrimental effect on their work abilities and productivity; which has a knock on effect on the total performance of the company, especially if many employees partake in a similar lunchtime philosophy.

“The legally allocated breaks for workers are there for a reason, and by not taking them employees are doing themselves more harm than good.

“It is also important to note the two possible main side effects this kind of attitude will have on an employee’s health. Firstly and most obviously it is simply not healthy for any human being not to have lunch, it will cause tiredness, feeling drained and lethargic, limited cognitive ability, and damaging effects on motor skills to name but a few possible side effects.

“Secondly if members of staff prefer to spend time at their display screen equipment (DSE) they are possibly damaging the health of their eyes.”

Employers have a duty of care towards the health of their employees, and as such must ensure that they look after DSE users and all members of staff. However the skipping of lunches is not the employer’s fault. Employees need to realise their performance will be affected and that they may be damaging their health.

The increase in the number of employees working part-time/flexible hours is also an important factor to consider. Members of staff come and go at varying hours during the day and so may take their breaks at different times when compared to full-time workers.

No Image Available
Newsletter

Get the latest from HRZone

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.

 

Thank you.

Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
ErrorHere