NYLUNCH by Zoya Gervis
New York office - 646-873-7565 / email@example.com
One in two American workers feels unable to take a full lunch break, according to new research.
A study of 2,000 American workers asked them to reflect on their lunch and snacking habits and found stress and the pressure to deliver on high workloads is taking its toll.
In fact, more than half (51 percent) of those studied said it is rare or unrealistic for them to take a proper lunch break away from their work.
That might explain why America’s modern office workers are now more likely to eat at their desk most often than any other location, according to the data.
But what is prompting as many as 30 percent of workers to most commonly eat at their desk each day? The perception that it leads to productivity is the biggest reason to stay close to the computer while supposedly taking a break.
A lack of time and a perception that there is always too much work to be done also made the top five reasons to eat lunch at your desk each day.
The study, which was conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Eggland’s Best also found a very focused 49 percent say they feel lunch can be a distraction from getting work done.
The notion of the lunch break has shifted as younger generations enter the workplace. The study found American workers 18-44 agreed that taking a full lunch break is not realistic, while workers aged 45+ disagreed.
With a lot of work and little time in the day for themselves, the results indicated that eating habits are changing to suit such hectic routines, with an emphasis on snacking prioritized over lengthy meals.
With few workers receiving a full lunch hour – more frequent snacking appears to be the trend. The survey found, 68% of American workers snack twice a day, and three in ten workers enjoy snacking three times a day or more while at work.
In fact, 44 percent of Americans even have a ‘snack drawer’ at work dedicated to little bites to keep them going throughout the day. Who is most likely to appreciate the office snack drawer? The majority are Millennials and those who hold a traditional 9 to 5 office job.
“As the workplace shifts, so does the traditional lunch hour. With the average lunch ‘hour’ now likely to be 30 minutes or less, American workers are now snacking at least twice a day, not surprisingly between breakfast and lunch, and then when hunger strikes again between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.,” stated a Kimberly Murphy, Director of New Ventures and Innovation at Eggland’s Best.
Where do workers stock up on snacks? They are most likely to get snacks from the grocery store (60 percent), followed by bringing in homemade snacks (37 percent) or raiding the vending machine (25 percent).
It’s no surprise that taste and convenience impacts American workers' purchasing decisions when it comes to snacks, especially for those who work night shifts or travel for work.
Beating off hunger pangs and satisfying cravings are the biggest reasons to hunt for a snack, followed by the need for an energy boost.
That might explain why the most sought-after qualities in any snacks are high protein content, followed by high energy. And while most of America tends to grab sweet snacks, American workers in the Midwest crave salty instead!
So, powered by snacks throughout the day, what exactly does this new lunch break look like?
When not working through their lunch, office workers will use what little time they have to focus on their minds rather than their bellies - three in four workers have used their lunch break to take a walk.
They do so mainly to get some exercise (63 percent). But other reasons that office workers adopt the ‘lunch walk’ philosophy is to clear the head (57 percent), enjoy the weather (51 percent) and to de-stress (43 percent).
Women are more likely to make an appointment during their lunch break, while men are more likely to play a game. And across the country, workers agree calling a friend or loved one during their lunch break is top of mind - except for those living in the Southwest, who'd rather catch up on social media.
And the benefits of headspace are clear - those that opt to take a break from their desks and step away from the hustle and bustle of their frantic computer screens seem to feel better as a result. Over half (51 percent) of office workers feel refreshed after taking a proper lunch break.
But when office workers decide to get work done and work through their lunch, they are left feeling tired (44 percent), stressed (31 percent), overwhelmed (24 percent), exhausted (26 percent) and anxious (20 percent).
“Whether it’s stress, lack of time or sheer boredom, snacks are an important part of office life and many American office workers prefer to munch on food at their desks. Having high protein, high energy snacks easily at hand will allow office workers to keep themselves productive throughout the day.” added Kimberly Murphy, Director of New Ventures and Innovation at Eggland’s Best.
Top 5 Reasons People Snack
Hungry between meals
Satisfy a craving
Need an energy boost
Top 10 Healthy Snacks (According to American Workers)
Nuts and seeds
Vegetable sticks (e.g. carrots, celery, etc.)
Hummus or nut/seed butter
Top 5 Reasons for Purchasing a Snack