In a recent survey by the OfficeTeam staffing services firm, company executives say their lunch break has shrunk by about seven minutes in the past five years, to an average of 35 minutes. Managers also say they work through lunch an average of three of the five days of the typical workweek. The survey, conducted by an independent research firm, is based on telephone interviews with 150 randomly selected senior executives at the thousand largest companies in the United States.
“In today’s 24/7 workplace, a lunch break often takes a back seat to e-mails, phone calls, meetings and pressing deadlines,” says OfficeTeam Executive Director Dave Willmer. “Many people are doing more work with fewer resources and, therefore, putting in more time at their desks. Some may also be working across time zones and forgoing lunch breaks to accommodate their colleagues’ schedules.”
Willmer does caution that professionals need time away from their desks to recharge and remain productive. “Managers set an example for their staff," he says. "If they don’t take a break for lunch, their employees may feel inclined to do the same.”