What happened to the lunch break?

It's a frustrating aspect of modern day office life – despite being entitled to an hour lunch break, we're either too busy to take it or feel our boss disapproves if we head out for a proper break.

But scoffing a sandwich at our desks is actually worse for productivity than escaping the office for an hour.

The lunch-hour is no longer the eagerly awaited break in the office day it one was - around three million staff are regularly forced to take a 'midday break' before 11am due to increasing pressures at work, according to a survey by sandwich chain Subway.

A further 10million employees sometimes do not get a break until after 3pm, and 28% of the 2,000 employees surveyed said their employers discouraged them from taking a full hour at lunchtime.

Breaks are important
In other research by health insurer Bupa, half of workers believed their productivity levels 'plummeted' in the afternoon.

Bupa's clinical director of occupational health, Jenny Leeser, said: "In challenging economic times, the UK workforce is in overdrive and the lunch break is falling by the wayside.

"Instead of taking a break to refuel, workers are using props including chocolates and sweets and caffeinated drinks to get them through the day, which can lead to insomnia and dehydration.

"Best practice is for employees to take breaks - often in the form of a change of activity - at regular intervals throughout the day to help stay alert and focused."

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