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Bosses urged to give staff breaks

Date 10 Oct 2007

Bosses are being urged to make sure their employees have decent breaks. New research shows that the average member of staff takes less than two hours a week for his or her lunch.

Most people work through their meal breaks so that they can finish early, a survey of more than 1,700 adults by employment law firm Peninsula found. The amount of time taken for lunch has plunged in recent years, in line with complaints about the UK's long-hours culture. Firms should encourage staff to have a proper break at lunchtime to improve their productivity, Peninsula said.

Alan Price from Peninsula said: "With the emergence of email communication and online networking sites, employees are combining eating at the desk during the lunch period with completing work and surfing the net. "With an increase in the amount of employees who have access to the internet, the reasons to leave the office are slipping away.

"Employers should encourage workers to stop and take rest periods to ensure productivity. Regular rest breaks will ensure that the employee is able to concentrate on their tasks at hand, lessening health and safety risks.

"You only need to look at an employee who returns from annual leave to see that a break does everyone the world of good. Employees should realise that the time spent away from the office, even if for only 10 minutes, will help to clear their mind and help them focus on their job upon their return."

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