UK employee work and lunch break habits

“The lunch hour is becoming a thing of the past and fewer people have the time or the inclination to take a long lunch break anymore,” said John Lamphiere, EMEA managing director at jobs website Glassdoor, in a statement.

He added that it seems as though the act of eating lunch is being “squeezed” into the work day — and this can be often coupled with other tasks, such as running errands, exercise or shopping.

“It seems like greater flexibility in working hours or higher pay would be far more preferable to most employees than a traditional hour-long lunch break,” Lamphiere noted, explaining how companies could “tap into this desire for flexibility” by looking into whether an adjustable policy on lunch breaks is optimal.

In the survey, over a third of participants called for more autonomy surrounding flexible rest breaks, as it would give them more control when it came to the structure of their working day.

British-based companies have to abide by certain legal requirements surrounding employee welfare. U.K. law indicates that the majority of workers shouldn’t have to work more than 48 hours a week, however you can ask to opt out of this and work more, if you’re over the age of 18.

In regard to lunch breaks, employees who work more than 6 hours a day, have the right to at least one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break, according to the U.K. government. Many companies however, often offer longer or more frequent rest periods to their workers, to avoid any adverse effects on people’s physical and mental health.

When it comes to having a fully-flexible workplace, only 16 percent surveyed said they had complete autonomy on when and how long they take for lunch. Just under a third of those polled, however stated their organization was quite flexible in terms of taking breaks, suggesting that employers are taking note of the changing workplace.

Glassdoor’s survey asked 2,000 employed adults in the U.K. about their eating habits during the workday.

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