Spring has stirred a lot of talk about vacations, personal time and even holidays being jeopardized by short-sighted managers and employees who fear taking time won’t allow them to get ahead. Now it’s lunch breaks that are on the block, because of bosses—at least according to one survey.
There is a strong difference between employers feeling their employees are encouraged to take a lunch break (88%) and their employees viewing things that way (62%), according to the survey by Tork, a maker of hygiene products, like soaps and paper towels, for businesses.
The Tork survey found:
- 34% of bosses take into account the frequency at which employees take lunch breaks when evaluating their job performance.
- 22% of bosses think staff who take regular lunch breaks work less hard.
- 13% of North American workers feel coworkers would judge them poorly if they take regular lunch breaks.
A representative for Tork said 1,600 employees and bosses across North America were polled.
The survey said that nearly 90% of employees consider lunch breaks vital when accepting a job. However, once situated, the average lunch break is less than 30 minutes for more than half of North American workers—barely enough time to purchase a meal, let alone enjoy it, said Tork's survey.
Additionally, employees aren’t going out to lunch because of workplace policies and lunch "shaming," where they feel their colleagues judge them for taking a midday break, so they sit at their desks hoping it proves that they are good employees, the Tork findings said.
Make sure employees are fed
As for CEOs who have working meetings during lunchtime, Inc. advises that they always make sure employees are well fed.
“If you order pizza for a group and you run out, some employees won't remember they had two great slices; they'll only remember that they wanted a third, and that you were too ‘cheap’ to provide it,” the publication said.
It’s just better all-around if employees eat, industry observers say.
“Besides being illegal to deny employees a rest or meal break in most states, it's not good business practice to discourage employees from taking a lunch break,” said Michael Perez, president of Nautilus HR, in an email.
“There are times when someone may be required to work through lunch, to meet an urgent deadline. Beyond that, creating a welcoming, trusting and high-impact work culture should be the focus of every business. An engaged employee is more likely to put out extra effort for their organization,” Perez said.
Anthony Baldini of Sterling Communications indicated he may be among the lucky ones. Baldini said in an email he works a job that is “non-stop, where you’re pretty much always on call. You would think this would mean a lot of desk lunches, but my [company] encourages getting out of the office whenever it makes sense within our individual employee schedules. This probably evens out the days when escaping the computer just isn’t a reality.”