The Lacklustre Lunch Breaks Study | Just Eat for Business
Just Eat for Business’ Lacklustre Lunch Breaks study delves into how often office workers repeat their lunch choices and what they’d change about their lunch.
From meal deals to leftovers, everyone has their go-to when it comes to lunchtime at work. But while it’s good to have favourites and old reliables, do people end up eating the same lunch far too often, and if so, what impact does it have on their mood and productivity?
Sometimes it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to what we have for lunch, often due to boredom, convenience or lack of time. We wanted to find out if office workers stick to the same lunch and their reasons for doing so.
Just Eat for Business’ Lacklustre Lunch Breaks study surveyed over 200 office workers across the UK, to reveal how office workers feel about their lunch choices - and what they would change or improve.
When you’ve got a heavy workload or a hectic schedule, thinking about what to have for lunch is often the last thing on your mind. But just how often do office workers reach for the same thing, and what is their go-to?
The survey revealed that 2 in 5 office workers (45%) eat the same lunch at least twice a week, with the majority of employees (38%) opting for a homemade sandwich as their lunch of choice, while supermarket meal deals also proved a popular option during the working week. .
The survey revealed that Northern Irish employees accounted for the highest percentage of those who have the same lunch everyday, with 44% in the region reaching for their go-to ahead of every single lunch break. .Meanwhile, office workers in the Midlands and Wales proved to have the more varied lunches, with no respondents repeating their lunch on a daily basis.
Given that a homemade sandwich can be rustled up fairly quickly in the morning and is fairly cost-effective, it’s no surprise then that the main reasons workers regularly repeat their lunch options were the effort and energy taken (50%), cost (32%) and time constraints (23%).
However, when asked about how satisfied they are with their choice of lunch, almost half (46%) of office workers aren’t happy with what they eat, suggesting many want to change. The main roadblock for those who do want to mix it up came out as drive, as 1 in 5 people report being too unmotivated to make themselves a different lunch each day.
Given the level of dissatisfaction revealed by the survey, we wanted to ask what employees would change about the food they have on their lunch break. Lunch, especially when bought out, can end up accounting for a large part of office workers expenses, so for more than 1 in 4 (28%) cost is a concern.
Other changes employees would make about what they eat came out as healthiness (23%) suggesting that when stuck in a rut, it can be easy to pick the less nutritious options, while a fifth (19%) would like more variety in their lunchtime meals.
On the other hand, external factors can also impact how we enjoy our lunch, as nearly 1 in 10 (8%) would like their lunch to be faster to make or receive, while others (6%) crave more social interaction on their lunch break.
Employee attitudes and habits
Taking a break throughout the working day can have a huge impact on productivity and mood. But how do office workers’ lunch habits affect their working day, and how do they feel about them?
The findings from the survey revealed that a fifth (20%) of employees feel tired or lethargic after eating lunch, suggesting that many struggle to get through the afternoon slump.
Free lunch or food provisions can be an attractive work perk when applying for a role, and can play an important role in team building and maintaining professional relationships. So much so that 1 in 10 workers wish their employer provided more catered lunch breaks, demonstrating the beneficial impact food provisions can have on employee satisfaction.
However, for some office workers it can be a struggle to even take a break during the working day at all, due to heavy workloads and understaffing issues.
When asked if they have ever skipped lunch, over a third (37%) of UK employees admit to sometimes forgoing their afternoon break and therefore not grabbing anything to eat, while nearly 1 in 10 (8%) claim they always do so.
A culture of urgency and heavy workloads can have a detrimental impact on some office workers' mental health, often leaking into their personal time and disrupting their work-life balance.
The survey shows that this affects lunchtime too, as 14% of employees say they’re often too stressed to eat whilst at work, meaning that they aren’t replenishing their energy levels during the day.
The most common reason why people end up skipping their lunch breaks altogether proved to be workload, with over half (51%) of workers unable to step away from their screens to grab something to eat.
Other reasons why lunch is given a miss came out as a lack of appetite (22%) - often caused by stress - time constraints (16%) and cost (6%).
It can often be hard to prioritise taking our lunch break and what we eat during the working day - especially given costs and the burden that heavy workloads can cause. However, the survey findings have shown that many office workers want more variety and excitement when it comes to lunchtime.
Here at Just Eat for Business, we encourage employers to provide opportunities for their teams to mix it up at lunchtimes, and organise an office lunch from one of our many exciting vendors. So, whether you usually opt for a meal deal or bring your leftovers, why not get the team together and order some catering to add some variety to your lunch break?
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