Only 28 percent of New Zealand workers take their full designated lunch break, according to a survey by recruitment company Hays of 1,253 professionals.
Participants were asked how much of their designated lunch break they take on average. Just 28 percent take their full lunch break most days, 25 percent take around three-quarters and 22 percent take half. A further 18 percent take just one quarter of their break. The final seven percent never take a break, Hays says in a media release.
This is despite 93 percent admitting that their productivity benefits from taking a lunchtime break away from the office.
When asked what helps keep them fresh and alert at work, 65 percent said getting away from their desk to eat lunch. This was followed by short five-minute breaks for fresh air (56 percent), a lunchtime break from all devices (50 percent), minimising eye fatigue, such as looking away from your computer screen at regular intervals (44 percent), gentle stretches at your desk (41 percent), listening to music (37 percent), exercise at lunchtime (36 percent), regularly eating small, healthy meals or snacks (33 percent) and mindfulness or meditation (20 percent).
“People often believe they’re too busy or their to-do list is too long to be able to step out,” says Nick Deligiannis, MD of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “But we don’t always need to be available at our desk. We can step away to eat and take a break.”
There are benefits to be had from taking a break. According to Deligiannis, “Stepping out for a lunch time break can help avoid the 3pm slump and improve your afternoon productivity. You’ll come back refreshed and your attention span will increase.”
Leaving devices at your desk can keep you fresh and alert too. “Technology has blurred the lines between work and life, giving us a constant connection to work. It’s important to down tools and step away from our devices during break times. Go for a walk to stretch your legs or sit in a nearby park. You’ll notice the difference in your improved level of productivity.”