New research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Youfoodz has today confirmed that some old, unhelpful habits still stick with us as we have come back to the office.
A study of 1,000 full-time employed Australians (aged 18-65) has revealed a snapshot of the nation’s lunchtime habits, revealing over three out of four office workers (77%) say they skip or work through their lunch break during the average work week. With only 23% of workers saying they take their full lunch breaks.
While the effects of our fast-paced society and competitive work environments mean our lunch breaks tend to take a backseat to other priorities, the negative consequences of skipping or shortening one’s lunch break cannot be avoided.
Over seven out of ten office workers (72%) say that they feel less productive when they don’t take their lunch break. This trend being driven by multiple reasons:
Heavy workloads - 42% of office workers say they don’t take lunch breaks as they have too much work to complete;
Time constrains - 29% skip lunch breaks as they have not had enough time to shop for food;
Cost of lunch options - 23% say the lunchtime offerings around their workplace are too expensive
With even “work from home” or remote workers not being immune to this concerning trend, the study revealed that 58% of office workers work from home at some point throughout the week, with 31% of these saying they are inclined to skip their lunch breaks.
Founder of workplace wellbeing provider, The Wellness Workshop, Melani De Sousa says these new findings from Youfoodz highlight the impact little to no breaks can have on overall productivity and employee wellbeing.
“Although skipping lunch breaks might initially feel more productive, we know that in the long-term this can lead to faster burnout and higher stress levels, thus reducing workplace performance, impacting mental health and increasing staff turnover,” said Melani.
This is supported by four in five office workers (80%) saying they have positive feelings when they have taken a break to eat lunch and replenish throughout the workday, as well as feeling energised (27%), more productive (23%), creative (16%) and engaged (12%).
“Not taking breaks can in many cases be attributed to a negative or toxic workplace culture that has developed over time,” said Melani.
“Workers might notice their leaders aren’t taking breaks, and therefore feel more obliged to do the same. Some industries are more prone to this behaviour than others, particularly highly competitive industries where employees feel their worth is measured by how much they are “seen to be doing”.
“Evidence shows that most humans can only get two hours and 53 minutes of productive time before they need a break, with regular breaks proven to prevent decision fatigue. Breaks also enhance employee engagement, job satisfaction and overall work-life balance whilst further boosting creativity.
“A varied and nutritious lunch enjoyed mindfully, away from the desk and distractions aids digestion, reduces digestive issues and promotes self-care. Planning ahead and scheduling breaks is an effective way to ensure employees are taking time out. While a comfortable, accessible and ideally light-filled common area in or outside the workplace ensures teams have somewhere away from their work to eat lunch.
“Taking a break at work should not be considered a luxury or optional exercise, but rather an important part of the work-day that all employees prioritise and plan for,” said Melani.
With these new findings in mind, Youfoodz is working to drive an increase in productivity and overall well-being across Australian offices by delivering deliciously healthy ready-made meals and providing a well-deserved lunch break.
Melani continued, “we know that a large factor contributing to a positive and efficient work environment is the practice of having regular breaks,” said Melani.
“Taking time away from tasks promotes a better work life balance and fosters overall wellbeing.
Hannah Gilbert, Director of Culinary Innovation & Operations for Youfoodz, said these findings should certainly be a wake-up call for Australians in the workplace.
“We know that a large factor contributing to a positive and efficient work environment is the practice of having regular breaks,” said Hannah.
“When workers take time away from their tasks to enjoy a meal, the experience fosters well-being and performance.
“In addition to this, we should be conscious of fuelling our body with foods that are good for us - not just the most convenient option.
“It’s obvious that prep time is a factor in these findings, with 41% of respondents saying that preparation time is a big influencer. Sometimes the time of day just isn’t there to consistently prepare healthy meals to take to work.
“Ready-made meal brands like Youfoodz make healthy eating easy, providing the choice of over 60 meals each week across a range of plans suitable to all health goals, all delivered fresh to your door.
“We know that 21% of respondents cited a lacking variety of food on offer as a reason for skipping their lunch break, with 20% saying preparation time was reason to skip their lunch breaks.
“Ready-made meals remove the time spent cooking & cleaning, meaning when it comes time for a lunch break, all that’s left to do is heat, eat and enjoy - and recharge the mind,” said Hannah
Explore quick and easy lunch ideas with Youfoodz.
Imagery & video is available here;
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1009 Australian full-time office workers (aged 18 - 65). Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 20th June 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian full time office workers (aged 18 - 65).
ABOUT YOUFOODZ: Healthy eating, made easy! Launched in 2012, Youfoodz is on a mission to create the future of food, believing every Australian deserves access to fresh, affordable and tasty food. The ever-changing menu of fresh ready-made meals, snacks and drinks can be delivered to your door. Youfoodz works with local farmers to deliver the freshest meals, guaranteed. Youfoodz meals are delivered fresh (NOT frozen), all portion & calorie-controlled, and ready to heat & eat in minutes. Youfoodz has been voted Best Food Delivery Service by ProductReview 3 years in a row and awarded Best Rated Meal Delivery Service (2021) for variety by Finder.
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