The surprising trend that's eating into our productivity

by 10 Jul 2013

Brokers and other Australian workers are skipping lunch, eating at their desks and catching up on ‘personal admin’ in ever increasing numbers, according to research conducted by ING Direct.

The lender says that ‘disappearing’ lunch breaks come as Australians admit work and personal demands are ‘eating into’ their break times.

Almost one in three of us (28%) are eating at our desk and a similar proportion (33%), are skipping lunch entirely at least once a week, while one in ten ‘usually’ work through their lunch break.

Health and productivity expert, Andrew May, believes this could be having a big impact on the overall health of many Australians.

“What I find scary about this research is that many Australians aren’t even seeing the light of day during their work hours, which has a detrimental impact on health, let alone productivity and managing stress.”

When asked whether work demands takeover your lunch break, 21% said ‘regularly’ and 12% said ‘very regularly’.

“Taking a lunch break away from your desk, even if it is only 15 to 20 minutes, is a proven way to increase productivity and decision making throughout the afternoon. Human beings do not work in a linear fashion like machines and taking regular breaks is imperative to help sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.”

“On a positive note, 34% of us ‘always’ take a lunch break away from the desk; 36% never skip lunch and 71% of us are satisfied with their lunch break,” he says.

The research also found:

  • The typical lunch break is between 15-30 minutes
  • 37% of us spend lunch time catching up on phone calls; 31% do personal admin and 30% go shopping, while 24% catch up on social media
  • Almost one in three use their lunch break to catch up on work
  • 9% of Australians say their lunch break has become less regular in the past 18 months
  • 7% use their lunch break to go to the gym

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