‘Busy’ Workers Skip Meals - Survey
28 October 2013 at 10:21 am
Millions of Australians are skipping lunch because they are too busy at work, a survey has revealed.
The survey, conducted by The Australia Institute and depression Not for Profit beyondblue for this year’s national Go Home on Time Day initiative, found that 3.8 million people routinely don’t take a lunch break, with one in two of them saying it’s because they are “too busy”.
Of those who said they do usually take a lunch break, 72 per cent said they either choose to eat lunch at their desks, cut short or postpone their break until mid-afternoon.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said many bosses and workers had lost sight of how taking a break could improve their mental health and increase productivity.
“It’s great that people are committed to getting the job done, but it is sensible to take a break away from your desk or the production line to exercise and think about other things. A regular walk at lunchtime improves both your physical and mental health and you will resume work feeling refreshed,” she said.
A majority of people acknowledged that taking a break, even a short break to clear their head, makes them more productive. One in four said taking a full lunch break makes work less stressful and one in three said breaks make work more enjoyable.
The Australia Institute’s Executive Director Dr Richard Denniss said despite Australia’s reputation for being a land of “sickies” and “smokos” the evidence suggested otherwise.
“Lunch breaks have always been a part of modern workplaces, but in recent decades more and more people report that they are too busy or too rushed to do something as simple as walk away from their desk to eat their lunch. While Australians used to celebrate the practice of taking a long lunch, we’re now struggling to even manage a short one,” he said.
Go Home on Time Day, on November 20, is an annual initiative aimed at promoting mentally healthy workplaces and the importance of work/life balance.
Organisations taking part include Jamie’s Ministry of Food Australia, Great Place To Work, Murdoch University, Adobe, UnitingCare Australia and several unions, including the ACTU, NTEU, ASU and Unions NSW.
This year’s campaign focuses on encouraging workplaces of all sizes to recognise and acknowledge the impact the workplace can have on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
The Australia Institute conducted the online survey in July 2013 and included 812 respondents who were employed at the time of the survey.
Click here for or beyondblue’s tips for healthy workplaces.