A survey by Hays of 1,253 professionals has found only 28 per cent of Aussie workers take their full designated lunch break. The study also found 25 per cent take around three-quarters and 22 per cent take half of their designated time. A further 18 per cent take just one quarter of their break. The final seven per cent never take a break.
This is despite 93 per cent admitting that their productivity benefits from taking a lunchtime break away from the office.
Furthermore, when asked what helps keep them fresh and alert at work, 65 per cent said getting away from their desk to eat lunch. This was followed by short five minute breaks for fresh air (56 per cent), a lunchtime break from all devices (50 per cent), minimising eye fatigue, such as looking away from your computer screen at regular intervals (44 per cent), gentle stretches at your desk (41 per cent), listening to music (37 per cent), exercise at lunchtime (36 per cent), regularly eating small, healthy meals or snacks (33 per cent) and mindfulness or meditation (20 per cent).
“People often believe they’re too busy or their to-do list is too long to be able to step out,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “But we don’t always need to be available at our desk. We can step away to eat and take a break.”
There are benefits to be had from taking a break. According to Nick, “Stepping out for a lunch time break can help avoid the 3pm slump and improve your afternoon productivity. You’ll come back refreshed and your attention span will increase.”
Leaving devices at your desk can keep you fresh and alert too. “Technology has blurred the lines between work and life, giving us a constant connection to work,” says Nick. “It’s important to down tools and step away from our devices during break times. Go for a walk to stretch your legs or sit in a nearby park. You’ll notice the difference in your improved level of productivity.”