Here’s How Much Free Work You’re Doing By Not Taking Your Lunch Break

Photographed by Kate Anglestein
We all know that actually taking a lunch break has many benefits, but that doesn't mean it's easy to do. Even on a relatively quiet day, there's a strong temptation to "work through" and hopefully finish a little earlier.
But if you work through on a regular basis, you're essentially working for free. New research by Workthere has revealed that UK workers aged between 25 and 34 are taking the shortest lunch breaks of all: just 25 minutes a day on average.
For someone working eight-hour days, five days per week, skipping just over half of their hour-long lunch break adds up to an additional 17 extra days of unpaid work over the course of the year.  
To put this into perspective, it's more than half of your statutory paid holiday entitlement of 28 days a year.
Workers aged between 25 and 34 are the most likely to skip their lunch break entirely – in fact, they're twice as likely to do so as workers aged between 55 and 64. They're also the most likely to feel pressured by their boss to work through the full lunch hour.
Cal Lee, Global Head of Workthere, said of the results: "It's interesting to see just how many office workers choose to either significantly cut down their lunch hour, or skip it all together, despite the benefits to employees and businesses from prioritising a proper lunch break each day [being] clear to see."  
Lee also pointed out that as many of us return to the office, at least on a part-time basis, businesses should be adapting their space to make lunch breaks more appealing.
"It is important to make sure such a working environment is geared towards encouraging staff to take their lunch," she said. "Something as simple as having a nice, clean kitchen area separate from the workspace will get people in the mindset of having a proper break.  
“Having clearly defined areas inside and outside the office for socialising will also increase the appeal of sitting down for a bite to eat and a chat with colleagues, which is beneficial for their wellbeing and productivity," Lee added.