UK EMPLOYEES ARE ADOPTING UNHEALTHY LUNCH HABITS DUE TO EXCESSIVE FATIGUE, STUDY FINDS
The 2021 Lunch & UK Workers Survey conducted by Mediterranean foods manufacturer, Ramona, found that avoidable work pressure and inflexible working hours are causing an average of two employees in every UK small business to regularly skip lunch.
The study surveyed 133 companies in the UK about eating habits in the workplace, with the aim to understand why employees make unhealthy choices and how employers can support them to live a healthier lifestyle. It found that 6% of employees in the UK regularly skip lunch altogether, which equates to 84,000 employees in the NHS alone.
Ramona Hazan, founder of Ramona's, says, “Emotions and workplace pressures can take their toll on our diets and eating habits. The findings above show that workers are really struggling with healthy eating as a result of the pandemic. When routines are unstructured and work presents challenges, people often find themselves reaching for comfort food.”
Avoidable work pressures were found to have the greatest impact on employee health choices, with almost one third of UK workers stating unmanageable workloads caused them to reach for unhealthy lunches. Inflexible hours in the workplace were identified as the second most common reason for unhealthy lunch habits at work for 28% of respondents.
Companies are being encouraged to focus on supporting young employees, with 64% of under 35’s having picked up unhealthy eating habits since returning to the office. Encouraging employees to eat away from their desks has been cited by 25% of respondents as a useful step, while a further 25% want their company to encourage employees to take their full lunch break.
Tracey Hudson, executive director at the HR Dept, says, “If companies ignore their employees’ wellbeing, both physical and mental, then they risk loss of productivity and high turnover as the two biggest concerns.”