Pret a Manger recently released their yearly profits review. With a reported 11 percent rise in core earnings, it seems we’ve been popping out for a few more chicken sandwiches and coconut lattes this year. Pret aren’t the only so-called ‘fast-casual’ restaurant to have an increase in weekly sales, with more of us than ever choosing to plump for the ready-made, rather than spending our nights elbow deep in bread and butter.
Of every region, us Londoners have the laziest lunch-time routine of all, in fact on average we spend £2,500 a year on food revolving around work. To put that in perspective that’s almost 10% of the UK’s median wage. Yet when asked a third of us say we don’t factor sandwiches, snacks and hot drinks into our spending habits, meaning when months-end comes we could all be hit with an unexpected bill.
Although we spend 100 more hours at work than the rest of the UK, London actually lead the way for leaving the office at lunch (even if it is just to pop to Pret) and yet the numbers are still woefully low. According to National Charity Partnership, 7 in 10 Brits spend their lunch either working or browsing online, a fact that actually isn’t helping our productivity.
Margaret Mountford of Apprentice fame says this could all be down to our bosses. Seeing them sat at their keyboards, sandwich in hand, can create a culture where nobody leaves their desk, for fear of looking like a slacker. This competition of ‘who can work harder’ is counterproductive for both our health and careers, not only causing eye strain but also severely altering our mood.
In February, we took a look at different countries cultural work place practices, and discovered Swedens use of Fika, a coffee break scheduled 2 to 3 times a day in order to catch some ‘me’ time. It’s no surprise to Jacqui Kemp, the director at Namaste culture that this has actually seen a huge boost in productivity and in fact helps improve employee connections. Her research into work-life balance has proven this fact over and over and she now actively campaigns for businesses to encourage breaks.
As technology has advanced, our time away from it all has decreased, however being immediately available at every turn isn’t necessarily a bonus. Put away your mobile phone, as whether you’re catching up on Facebook or crushing candy, studies have found playing on our phone during breaks actually makes us more tired.
With an average lunch break of only 28 minutes, most of us aren’t getting even half of the recommended time away during the day. Here at Goodman Masson, we lay a lot of stock in our employees work-life balance and keenly encourage breaks away from the desk, so if you’re finding the office still buzzing at 1 o’clock, why not set an example by leaving it all behind for an hour?