Workers across the UK have admitted that they never take a lunchbreak during the work week

Working through lunch

One in ten British workers never take a lunch break according to a study by Metro Bank. For those who do manage to take a breather, over 57% only take half hour or less, and a fifth take 20 minutes or less.

Corinne Sweet, psychologist and author of The Anxiety Journal states that: 'In our frantic 24/7 life today, it is absolutely essential for Brits' health and mental well-being to take a break and get out into the light and fresh air, no matter what. Employers need to encourage daily 'sanity breaks' and a real effort has to be made to go against the culture of being tied to the desk. Productivity goes up when employees take a break. This is equally important for the self-employed, who may get much-needed social contact or physical exercise, by going out of the house for a brief break at lunchtime.'

The study also found that there is a gender divide with 23% of women stating that they regularly fail to break for lunch compared to 15% of men. Men on average were the most likely (41%) to take breaks five or more times a week.

There were clear differences between regions across Britain, those in the East Midlands were the most likely to skip their lunch break (24%) compared to workers in London (46%) who take five or more lunch breaks a week.

The variances also extend to different industries with over a third (33%) of workers in the arts and entertainment sector being the most likely to work through lunch, closely followed by health workers (27%) and educators (26%). Comparatively 53% of workers in the manufacturing industry are able to take a lunch break five or more times a week.   

Surprisingly, over a million British workers who are self-employed or freelancers never take a lunch break, with 13% admitting feeling more pressure to be productive during their lunchbreak compared to those in full-time employment (7%).

Iain Kirkpatrick, managing director retail banking at Metro Bank adds: “Gone are the days when an hour’s break was the norm. Although taking time out is essential to a healthy work-life balance, we know that pressures and workloads can often dictate otherwise.”