This Is How Many Days You're Working For Free By Not Taking Your Full Lunch Break

It's time to stop eating 'Al Desko'

I dare you to take a full hour for lunch. 

In an age defined by 'always on' culture and a time where burnout is as common as, well, the common cold - we as employees are suffering particularly when it comes to our lunch breaks.

Once upon a time, it was common practice to take an hour for lunch, today the very idea of stepping out of the office for a full hour each day is laughable. An "hour for lunch" is beginning to sound like a prehistoric concept - like carrying a walkman or using physical maps.

But while employees might feel busier than ever trying to keep up with every email or slack message, eating 'al desko' or skipping lunch altogether is costing you more than you think. 

According to a recent survey, the average worker takes just 34 minutes for a lunch break, meaning many of us could be missing out on an extra 26 minutes of free time. 

And whilst 26 minutes may not seem like a big deal, trust us, it really adds up. If you only take 34 minutes for lunch each day, you could be working an extra 6,032 minutes a year. In fact, if you work an eight-hour workday, that means you're working an extra 12 days, or nearly two and a half weeks - FOR FREE. 

But repeatedly dining ‘al desko’ could be having a negative impact on our physical and mental health, not to mention our productivity levels.

A study conducted by researches at City, University of London early last year revealed that people who regularly worked overtime or pushed themselves hard at work tended to view their career prospects less positively and lacked a sense of job security. On top of that, the study also found that the overtime work those people were doing was actually decreasing the quality of their work, which could have a negative impact on their entire career in the long run. Which, combined, leads you down the burnout path. 

So how can we all make sure we’re not putting ourselves at risk of feeling burnt out? Taking a full hour’s lunch is a good place to start. 

Main image by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott

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