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Is Taking a Lunch Break a Thing of the Past?

Eating and Working
David Silverman / Getty Images

It’s a little before 12:30 and I’m sitting at my desk and not out somewhere eating lunch. I am surprised how many of us in our office are here right now and not out to lunch. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few who are out of the office right who are out to lunch. There are a couple eating at their desks as I write this including the guy in the next office. Whatever happened to the lunch break… where did it go?

Just so you know, this article is not born out of some kind of new study about lunchtime habits, but with today’s economy and high expectations in the workplace, the lunch break has become a luxury for some. McDonald’s even had a campaign recently addressing this issue with a series of ads telling workers, “It’s your lunch…. take it.”

Roughly, two-thirds of us are skipping lunch entirely right now or eating while leaning over the computer keyboard, including you if you are reading this with a sandwich stuffed in your mouth. The question is, what are we doing? And, is it worth it? It’s a trend that is getting bigger everyday.

CareerBuilder did do a study in 2010 and found that 18-percent of workers report always eating at their desks and 16-percent say they skipped lunch in favor of work. Almost a third of employees said that if they did take a lunch, they spent less than 30 minutes eating… that’s crazy, isn’t it?

There are actually benefits for workers who take some kind replenishing break like lunch, talking with friends or just relaxing for a few minutes that gives them renewed vigor for the rest of the workday. If you are working or cramming in chores and errands, not so much vigor.

By the way, there are no federal requirements for lunch breaks, but most states have laws requiring meal breaks for hourly employees, where such laws do not cover many salaried workers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a conference call waiting.


[Yahoo News]

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