Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

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Eating at the desk – good or bad?

Hundreds of thousands, probably millions of us do it – eat lunch at our desks. It is almost ritualistic. Why do we do it? Countless good reasons; too lazy to go out; no lunch room; packed lunch in the office suits me and it is the less expensive option; too busy to take a break so work through my lunch; everyone else does it so I do; I do it to improve my chance of promotion and, of course, many more reasons.

Hugh-BillotResponding to a recent survey where 60% of 1000 respondents said they eat lunch at their desk, Anna Soubry, a government health minister has been quoted as saying the practice is “disgusting” and thinks it ought to be banned. According to Ms Soubry the average sacrificed break time works out at 128 hours per year for every employee involved, time which is not paid.

In real terms it is unlikely that the practice will stop and I suspect there is no chance that employees will be paid for working during their lunch break. In fact employees have challenged this lack of payment in court and have lost on the legal argument that additional hours must always be expressly authorised in advance before an employee can qualify for overtime payments.

From a health perspective there may be some merits in not taking lunch at your desk or at least every day. Research has found that desks are very dirty places. Further taking a break and walking around can lessen the risk of musculoskeletal and other health problems.

Resistance to change is a prevalent conundrum within British organisational culture and eating at the desk, good or bad, is unlikely to arouse any form of change strategy which would prompt action to lose 128 hours of unpaid work at any time!

Dr Hugh Billot, Deputy Chairman

HR GO Group of Recruitment Companies

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