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London workers are choosing to dine ‘al desko’ due to their heavy workload

24th April 2015 Print

Over half (69%) of London workers feel the weight of their workload is too great to justify a full hour long lunch break, a new study has revealed. 

The survey conducted by L’atelier des Chefs of almost 500 Londoners has found that a third (34%) of office workers believe that taking their full hour long lunch break is frowned upon by their company. Further results from the survey show that 25% opted to take their lunch break twice a fortnight, whilst 15% only take it twice a month.

As the capital for business and finance, London is a hub of office workers who are increasingly feeling the pressure to carry on throughout their lunch hour. This strain is increasing the rate that people are turning to unhealthy, heavy on the wallet convenience food, with 15% opting for a quick lunch such as a ready meal or takeaway. 

Some people even choose to dine ‘al desko’, with half (50%) remaining at their desk when they do take their lunch break rather than heading outside. We all know that staring at your computer screen for up to 9 hours a day whilst absent-mindedly reaching for the odd bite of a cheese sandwich in-between typing does not boost your creativity or brain health. Not only is eating at your desk bad for your digestive system and posture, you end up snacking mindlessly throughout the day. Rather than taking a stroll outside of the stuffy office environment. 

London’s major working sectors of media and finance come with high pressure and deadlines meaning employees need to stay alert and productive throughout the day, and all require workers to be at a desk for the majority of their day. This means that the results of these unhealthy eating habits also have a detrimental effect on workers health. 1 in 4 begin to feel unproductive throughout the day if they are unable to take their lunch break. What’s more, over a third (34%) feel extra tired and a quarter (26%) feel aggravated without an adequate break away from the pressures of work. 

Of the people that do like to take their full hour lunch break, many just pop to their local sandwich shop, rather than varying what they do each day. We spoke to Managing Director of L’atelier des Chefs, Nicola Hoare: “At a time when people thrive off being busy, it’s more important than ever to take some time out; taking a lunch break is a good place to start. Learning new recipes is essential for London workers as people are too regularly turning to takeaways and ready meals.”

Nicola went on to say “It‘s important that people move around more on their lunch breaks and an activity such as a cooking class is a quick, fun alternative that gets you back to your desk, having eaten, within an hour. Doing something different encourages you to take a break and learn new skills.”

Busy days at the office are also having an affect on eating habits once people finish working. With almost four million employees in London now working at least 48 hours a week, time is limited to make a proper meal. This led to 56% of the study deciding to opt for a quick dinner like a takeaway in the evening. 

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