The results of a poll commissioned by BBC Breakfast show that 54 percent of office workers regularly work through their lunch break with 53 percent saying there is a widespread culture of working through lunch breaks in their office. The poll was produced for the BBC by ComRes.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is the UK’s leading organisation for food and nutrition professionals and also has a stream of work called Nutrition in the Workplace. The BDA’s Nutrition in the Workplace helps support employers throughout the UK to improve employees’ health and wellbeing , in addition to improving levels of sick days taken. By looking at nutrition and wellbeing in the workplace, this helps boost employees’ health and improve their performance, which is fundamental to any employer. Speaking about the results of the BBC Breakfast poll, Alison Clark, Spokesperson for the BDA, said: “Of course, from time to time we have all sat at our desk and worked through lunchtime or two. However, this should not be allowed to become the norm. Indeed, eating lunch at your desk should be an occasional occurrence.
“Eating at your desk can be a fast track to piling on unwanted weight. For example, it is far too easy to partake in a bit of ‘mindless eating’ while working away at your desk. While you mind is fixed firmly on tasks at hand, your actual hand is automatically dipping into a whole raft of treats lying around on your desk. Also, working through lunchtimes often means a quick dash to the local sandwich shop without enough time to properly read food labels and understand what you are about to eat and this type of ‘grab and go’ habit can soon add up. “It’s not just about weight. Wellbeing is also very important to maintain. Vitamin D, which is crucial to bone health (enables calcium to strengthen bones), is very hard indeed to get the levels we all need by food alone. The vast majority of our Vitamin D intake comes from direct sunlight on our skin. By stepping away from your desk and sitting outside for ten minutes can make a really big difference to Vitamin D levels in your body.
“On average, someone with a fulltime job will spend around 60 percent of their time in the workplace and will eat and drink at least a third of their daily calorie allowance during this time. Too often, stress and certain cultures in the workplace takes priority over healthy food choices and ensuring that employees’ health and wellbeing needs are met. This is a very important issue that all employers should address.”