Office workers have returned to work, feeling somewhat refreshed after the festive break. However, only one in five workers will actually take the traditional lunch hour break; a stark contrast to France, which sees the lunch hour as a key part of the working day.

Commercial property agency Savoystewart.co.uk conducted a survey of 250 individuals from 12 SME’s to discover which professions are scrimping on their lunch break, and which are taking advantage of the full hour.

They found that digital marketers took the shortest breaks, taking a meagre average of 14 minutes, followed by recruiters and those in telesales. At the opposite end of the spectrum were media & communication professionals, who took almost their whole hour at 55 minutes.

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Some of the reasons cited were to please the boss, too much work to do, other colleagues don’t take lunch, there’s nowhere to go or one hour is too long:

“I haven’t passed my probation yet, and want to make the best impression to my boss and manager.”– Digital Marketing Executive, Bristol.

“My role is commission-based role, so the more I sell in a day, the more pay I get. I feel like every minute I’m on my break, that’s valuable time I could be earning bonus.” – Recruiter, London.

Many workers forget the importance of taking a lunch break. Working consistently for long periods isn’t good for your physical and mental well-being. Even a short 15 minute break away from the computer screen is a proven way to improve concentration levels for the rest of the day.

Which industries take the shortest break?

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Darren Best, CEO from Savoystewart.co.uk on employees taking breaks:

“I openly encourage my employees to take a break, to move from their desk and have a walk at lunch time, as it impacts so positively on productivity. I am considering taking employees to a monthly gym session just to get them on their feet!”

Will this culture of working longer hours, and skipping lunch prevail, or will employers and employees realise that this unwillingness to take a lunch hour could be truly detrimental to business?

All graphics courtesy of Savoystewart.co.uk.