Remote working | Over a third of workers now skipping lunch breaks: what HR teams need to know

Over a third of workers now skipping lunch breaks: what HR teams need to know

Over a third (36%) of UK workers are now skipping more breaks than last year, according to a new survey. The survey included responses from over 200 UK workers, segmented by job role (business owners/C-suite, management team and executive). It found that a quarter of UK office workers are putting in overtime hours every single day, and that of those who are putting in overtime, most are business owners. The survey identified that 1 in 10 business owners report not taking lunch breaks at all.

This level of overworking is having a widespread effect on mental health, as 43% of workers report feeling sometimes burnt out at work whilst 13% of office workers feel in a constant state of burnout.

Overall, there appears to be a remarkable correlation between those who skip breaks and those who feel burnt out. 73% of workers who feel burnt out admit they don’t take a break until lunch and 46% don’t stop looking at their screens until the end of the working day.

How can HR teams help?

When it comes to employees working from home, HR should focus on encouraging them to take regular breaks – whether at lunch or from screens – to avoid such mental health implications.

When there is a large workload there can be a temptation not to take a break. But trying to maintain focus for long periods of time is also counterproductive: over time, our mental energy depletes. We also need food to restore our energy, so skipping lunch is never a good idea.

Employers and employees need to prioritise sustainable and healthy working habits. HR teams may consider organising regular events that encourage time away from screens and present opportunities to socialise with colleagues.

Some ways you can encourage wellness activities include:

  • Encourage a lunchtime walking club

  • Subsidise gym memberships

  • Bring a yoga instructor into the office once a month

  • Offer healthy snacks in the office

  • Catered healthy lunches

Use HR software to help manage the stress in your workplace

HR software is a great tool to use if you want to better understand the stresses and issues your employees are having that are stopping them from taking regular breaks. Many HR platforms have anonymous surveys and feedback forms that let employees tell management what’s troubling them without them fearing upsetting someone.

When feedback is anonymised, it helps leadership get to the real problems in their business as they aren’t being told what they want to hear by staff.

Collecting all this data together and analysing it lets HR teams spot what’s causing stress within their workplace, and they can put strategies in place to tackle those causes of stress and burnout.

HR software also helps the HR department solve their own stress related issues by automating and streamlining their processes. If your HR team is struggling to keep up with their work or they’re reaching burnout, then investing in some new HR technology could help. You can use our HR System Selection Tool to help you find the right product for your needs or contact us here to find out how we can help.

Do you need help planning wellness initiatives and decreasing burnout in 2022?

The key takeaway is that HR teams must stress to employees that it is essential to take regular breaks. Whether employees are working in the office or at home, regular breaks play an important role in avoiding burnout.

If you’re looking for ideas and advice on what wellness initiatives to deploy in your company in 2022 Phase 3 can help. We help HR teams improve their processes and find the right HR software for their needs. If you’d like to hear how we can help you contact us here to find out more.

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Phase 3 are leading providers of People Technology professional and managed services with over 18 years' experience of working with HR, Payroll and Finance solutions. We are independent specialists who ensure that your HR technology and people processes are perfectly aligned.

The Phase 3 team cover the full lifecycle of HR, Payroll and Finance projects, from software selection, implementation, development and ongoing services for HR and Finance systems as well as managed payroll services.