Breaks Boost Workplace Productivity

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New research conducted by YouGov on behalf of a workplace well-being provider has highlighted lunchtime habits among Australian office workers. The study, which surveyed 1,000 full-time employed Australians aged 18-65, found that 77 percent of office workers skip or work through their lunch break during the average work week. Only 23 percent of workers reported taking their full lunch breaks.
The research revealed that skipping or shortening lunch breaks has negative consequences.
Around 72 percent of office workers stated that they feel less productive when they don’t take their lunch break. The reasons behind this trend include heavy workloads (42 percent of respondents), time constraints (29 percent of respondents), and the cost of lunch options (23 percent of respondents).
Even remote workers were not immune to this concerning trend. The study found that 58 percent of office workers work from home at some point during the week, with 31 percent of them inclined to skip their lunch breaks.
Experts emphasize the impact that skipping breaks can have on overall productivity and employee well-being. It can lead to faster burnout, higher stress levels, reduced workplace performance, impaired mental health, and increased staff turnover. On the other hand, taking breaks has positive effects, with 80 percent of office workers reporting positive feelings when they have taken a break to eat lunch. These positive feelings include feeling energized (27 percent), more productive (23 percent), creative (16 percent) and engaged (12 percent).
The research also suggests that a negative or toxic workplace culture can contribute to the lack of breaks. Workers may notice their leaders not taking breaks and feel obliged to do the same, especially in highly competitive industries where one’s worth is often measured by how much work one appears to be doing. However, evidence shows that regular breaks enhance employee engagement, job satisfaction, work-life balance, and creativity. Taking a varied and nutritious lunch away from the desk aids digestion, reduces digestive issues, and promotes self-care.
To address this issue, experts recommend planning ahead and scheduling breaks, considering them as an important part of the workday that all employees should prioritize. A comfortable, accessible, and ideally light-filled common area in or outside the workplace can provide employees with a dedicated space to eat lunch.
The research findings have prompted action from Youfoodz, a ready-made meal provider, which aims to increase productivity and overall well-being in Australian offices by delivering deliciously healthy meals and encouraging employees to take a well-deserved lunch break.
In conclusion, the research highlights the importance of regular breaks for productivity and employee well-being. It emphasizes the need for a positive workplace culture that promotes breaks and acknowledges their benefits. Additionally, it suggests that convenient and nutritious food options, such as ready-made meals, can help address the issue of time constraints and lack of food variety during lunch breaks.

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