I say this having just read online in a UK newspaper that UK workers now take just 29 minutes for lunch on average. This is four minutes less than it was 12 months ago.
60% of workers don’t even have a break for lunch but eat it at their desks.
When asked why they were doing this two thirds said they had too much work to do to leave their work stations and 14% (I thought it would be more) said they did it to impress their boss.
The survey has drawn both medical and political comment.
Ron Cutler, a micro-biologist at Queen Mary University of London, is concerned about the crumbs left on desks and keyboards. Diarrhea and vomiting causing bacteria find these crumbs a great place to breed and do so readily at the 20°C temperature maintained in most offices.
And Health Minister Anna Soubry says workers should take a proper lunch break and enjoy their food. She says that workers eating lunch at their desk is disgusting.
These comments are fair enough. But I wonder whether Dr Cutler or Minister Soubry have ever been inadvertently impressed by the commitment of their short-lunch break staff over and above those who take a whole hour.
I say that because I believe few leaders fail to fall into the trap of preferring staff who ‘work through’ or work late over those who stick to their hours.
There’s a deeply embedded cultural issue at play here. It will take a lot to shift it.
Tags: 12 months bacteria biologist boss break crumbs desk desks diarrhea four minutes health minister keyboards life culture proper lunch quality of life queen mary university queen mary university of london ron cutler soapbox two thirds work