UK Workers Neglect Quality Lunch Breaks, Impacting Productivity

Healthy Eating Habits

UK Workers Neglect Quality Lunch Breaks, Impacting Productivity

In the United Kingdom, the lunch break is an endangered ritual. In a culture known for its work-centric approach, Brits have developed a notorious reputation for their poor lunch break habits. According to numerous surveys over the past decade, a significant proportion of UK’s workforce barely devotes half an hour to a meal that should ideally sustain them for the rest of the working day. What’s more, many don’t even leave their desks during this time, opting to eat “al desko”.

A comprehensive survey conducted by Totaljobs involving over 7,000 workers revealed that a staggering 56% of participants often forgo their midday meal due to work-related pressures. This phenomenon, known as “work creep”, has led to an alarming trend where employees feel too swamped with tasks to take a break. The situation is further exacerbated when workers do manage to step away from their desks, only to consume processed, nutrient-depleted foods such as meal deals and salty sandwiches.

In a 2022 study by Costa Coffee and M&S Food involving 2,000 workers, it was discovered that the pandemic has only intensified these unhealthy habits. More people are eating alone without taking necessary screen or exercise breaks. Interestingly, 75% of the participants expressed a desire to change this trend, and 52% believed that their productivity was negatively impacted when they skipped lunch.

While businesses like Costa and M&S are keen on enticing office workers into their outlets, it’s important to note that even seemingly healthy options offered by supermarkets and fast-food cafes can be loaded with unnecessary ingredients. According to French-Lebanese chef Léa Sednaoui, the UK’s lunch problem isn’t just about daily food choices but also the prevailing attitude towards meals. She argues that food should be seen as a source of energy and abundance, meant to uplift and energise us.

For those who find themselves eating alone in haste, there are several ways to ensure your meals are both satisfying and flavourful. Sarah Akhurst, food director at Sainsbury’s Magazine, suggests making a batch of miso dressing for a range of delicious lunches. She also recommends a harissa dressing for those who prefer a bit more spice.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy and adaptable option, dried noodles are an excellent choice. Pippa Middlehurst, author of the cookbook Simple Noodles, offers a recipe for mackerel soba that combines gluten-free carbs with affordable tinned fish.

Despite the need for some planning, there’s still room for improvisation if you have some condiments on hand. Akhurst suggests making use of sundried tomatoes, capers, olives, pickled chillies, mango chutney and kimchi to add flavour to your meals.

While these tips can help improve lunch habits, it’s also important to consider your work environment. For instance, using an electric height adjustable standing desk can encourage better posture and reduce the negative impact of prolonged sitting. Learning how to choose the best standing desk can greatly enhance your office health.

In conclusion, while the UK’s lunch break habits may be far from ideal, there are plenty of solutions available. From preparing healthier meals packed with flavour to investing in the best sit stand desk for improved comfort and productivity, there are numerous ways to transform your workday experience. After all, as the saying goes, “you are what you eat”, and this holds true not just for your physical health but also your professional performance.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

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