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Tough at the top

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A third of line managers rarely or never take a lunch break and over half want to spend time on their own. British bosses are in danger of becoming management martyrs, according to healthcare charity Nuffield Health research amongst UK workers.

Almost a third (31 percent) admit that they rarely or never take a lunch break. Almost half will eat at their desks and work through lunch. It appears that these lunchtime misers find it lonely at the top with a fifth (19 percent) opting to eat alone and for the majority (60 percent) a perfect lunch break would involve time on their own. Peer pressure also plays its part, with nearly one in ten (8 percent) saying they do not take their full lunch break as they believe colleagues frown on them doing so. A third (32 percent) do not view it as time for themselves – compared to a fifth (19 percent) of colleagues without management responsibilities. More than a fifth (23 percent) also have their lunch breaks affected by meetings or other deadlines. However, the vast majority (60 percent) of line managers say they actively encourage their staff to take a full hour’s break.

This self-imposed suffering has a knock-on effect for eating habits with full time line managers the most likely to buy pre-prepared food rather than eat healthily. On the flipside, full time managers are the most likely to exercise at lunchtime and are also the group that would most like the chance to do some form of physical activity. David Brame, Commercial Director – Corporate Fitness at Nuffield Health said: “When times are tough and work is busy, it’s easy to sacrifice a break in order to plough through a to-do list. However, these management martyrs aren’t doing themselves any favours by denying themselves a proper break in the working day.

“Eating healthily, taking some form of exercise and getting away from the office environment has a number of benefits for brain and body. Studies show that taking a proper lunch break boosts productivity by increasing energy and concentration in the afternoon and the spike in endorphins from exercise helps you better utilise food as fuel. “You don’t have to run a marathon every lunchtime but those who want to get to the top would be well advised to remember that a little break from routine can go a long way when it comes to feeling and being at your best.”

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