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Deskbound workers spell death of the lunch-break

12th April 2012 Print

A survey of over 1200 office workers by workplace environment consultancy Ambius has found that almost a third (30%) are feeling more stress than they were a year ago. Furthermore, over a fifth, (22.4%) spend the whole day, every day, at their desk - never leaving for lunch and a walk in the fresh air as they grab a bite to eat - summer or winter.

Kenneth Freeman, International Technical Director for Ambius said: "These findings are worrying. A whole day with no break outside is simply not good for health and well-being - it's not surprising stress levels are up. Everyone needs to take a break away from their desk at least once a day and getting outside for a walk, some fresh air and space is good for body and mind, particularly if it is in a local park or green space.

"As humans we have an innate need to be in touch with nature - this hypothesis is called 'biophilia'.  Scientific studies have shown the detrimental effects of nature deficit. The challenge is that many of us work in urban environments where access to green space is limited. In fact our survey found that 34% have no access to green space for a lunch break.

"If you can't get outside the next best thing is to bring the outside in.  That can be as simple as making sure you have a view of a tree outside or green space - a view lacking for 40% in our survey. Or it can be a matter of having some plants in the workspace.

"With spring most definitely in the air, office workers need to prise themselves away from their desks and get the feel good factor of some sun on the face and contact with the natural world.  At the same time, bosses have a responsibility to encourage staff to take lunch breaks and are given the opportunity to connect with nature - even if it's just some pot plants in the office. It may seem counter-intuitive at a time when businesses are under so much pressure but the pay off has been proven in terms of engagement and productivity. "