11 February 2013
New figures have revealed 1 in 2 UK employees work through their lunch breaks, shining the spotlight on a culture of long office hours.
New figures have revealed 1 in 2 UK employees work through their lunch breaks, shining the spotlight on a culture of long office hours in tough economic conditions.
There’s a big difference between flexible working and working flexibly, and it seems UK employees are struggling to find the distinction when it comes to their office patterns. While most workers have embraced the culture of being able to work from home or on the move, many have also been sucked into troubling trends of working longer hours for the same pay.
BBC Breakfast found that 54% of UK office employees regularly work through their lunch breaks as they struggle to offset increasing workloads. The poll was revealed after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that employees across the UK worked nearly two billion unpaid hours, worth over £29 billion to the economy.
Commenting on the poll, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the figures shine a spotlight on Britain’s long-hours culture. She added that employees are missing their lunch or having to eat at their desks because they have too much work to do, and employers should be mindful of overworking their staff due to the effects it can have on morale and health.
“It is essential that employers recognise the damage this can do to their staff and to the productivity of their workforce. Workers who skip lunch and don’t take time away from their desks in the middle of the day are likely to become less productive as the day wears on and are also taking risks with their health,” she went on to say.
We need to change the culture – prevalent in far too many workplaces – that it is acceptable to eat lunch at your desk, and not leave your workspace.”