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While two thirds of UK workers only take up to a half-hour break at lunchtime, most wish they had time to engage in more rewarding activities, according to a new joint report from Yoyo and digital ordering platform Preoday.
According to the report, two-thirds (67%) of people can only take a maximum half hour lunch break during the working day.
Moreover, many say they don’t have the opportunity to relax or enjoy this free time – with four out of 10 saying they need to spend their lunchtime break getting more work done.
Younger workers are the most affected – 39% of respondents aged between 18 and 34 say they only spend between 5 and 15 minutes away from their desks and, more worrying, half (49%) of this age group are currently choosing to just “get more work done” instead of taking a lunchtime break.
When asked what they would prefer to do, more than two thirds (67%) said they would like to do something relaxing such as shopping, socialising with colleagues or friends, reading or watching TV.
Aside from relaxing, the desire to be active was also clear: 64% said they’d either like to spend time going for a walk, running errands, going to the gym or taking an external class.
Nick Hucker, CEO of Preoday, said: “It’s not a big surprise to find that break times are being eaten into by heavy workloads. Saying that, in an age when the health and wellbeing of staff is a huge focus, we’d expect more companies to emphasise the benefits of taking time away from the desk during lunch.
Clearly workers themselves are crying out for a more rewarding lunch time experience. It’s time businesses place more consideration on how they can help employees balance their working day.”
With less time to take a quality lunchtime break, the survey revealed that workers are 14% more likely to grab food from their office canteen than venture out to an external eatery. Despite this, 72% pointed to changes their canteens could make to better encourage them to visit more frequently.
Two key themes stood out – value and speed.
Nearly one in three workers (28%) said they didn’t see enough value or feel rewarded for their custom, and 57% said their experience would improve if their canteen had a tailored loyalty scheme. However, only 15% are aware of their canteen having a loyalty scheme in place.
40% of UK workers would visit their canteen more often if the service was quicker or if they could pre-order food to collect without queuing at all. At the moment, just 17% of workplace canteens offer a pre-ordering service to customers.
Michael Rolph, CEO of Yoyo, said: “Ideally, our lunch breaks should be seen as a daily oasis from the grind of the office – and usually the closest lunch spot in proximity, workplace canteens should feel a sense of duty to deliver this more rewarding experience.
“Being able to send customers off feeling valued and personally rewarded for their custom is no longer difficult for workplace canteens to deliver.
“Introducing the right technology and harnessing the data that can reveal what their customers actually want would go a very long way to improving what can currently be pretty poor excuse of a break from our working day.”
The survey included in this report reflects the anonymised responses of 2,003 workers based in the UK with a workplace canteen, surveyed between 12th – 19th September 2018. The survey was conducted by Opinium for Yoyo and Preoday to analyse how canteens in the workplace can improve the quality of a time-poor worker’s lunch break.