One in seven workers ‘not allowed’ to take work breaks except lunch

How work breaks are becoming a thing of the past

The great British tea and biscuit break is becoming a thing of the past – with 15 percent of workers “not allowed” to have one. A poll of 4,000 adults in employment found seven in ten take under 15 minutes of breaks a day (outside of their lunch break), while 43 percent take under 10 minutes.

They blame their lack of down time on the size of their workload (47 percent), too many meetings (25 percent), and receiving a constant stream of emails (23 percent).

And 36 percent don’t believe their employers do enough to encourage them to take breaks.

Despite this, 93 percent believe it’s an important part of the working day, with 42 percent feeling more energised after stopping for a short break, and 41 percent more motivated – while 38 percent feel less stressed.

Over three-quarters (76 percent) think their performance would be impaired without time away from their usual nine to five.

Furthermore, 74 percent believe having a tea break will allow them to get to know their colleagues better.

One in three workers claim they don’t even know all the names of the people they work with – rising to 39 percent of 18-24 year olds.

McVitie’s is rallying to reinstate Britain’s workplace breaks, supporting the 72 percent of the UK’s 32.8 million employed who would like to see the implementation of a daily 15-minute tea break in their place of work.

To do this, they have launched a modern spin on the classic tea trolley, which comes with a PA system and a countdown clock to ensure breaks never get missed again – as well as being stocked with a selection of biscuits to ensure everyone’s dunking preferences are met.

Aslı Özen Turhan, spokeswoman at McVitie’s UK & Ireland, said: “It is so important we find the time to take breaks during the working day.

“Just a short 15-minute break can improve wellbeing and connections with colleagues, which we witnessed among the McVitie’s workers who recently took part in trialling a daily tea and biscuit break.”

The survey also found two-thirds (66 percent) enjoy a biscuit with their tea break, while four in ten find the most enjoyable part of having a bit of time away from their work is the peace and quiet.

However, 35 percent think people take less breaks now than when they first started out in the working world – thanks to more demanding jobs (45 percent), and their time being stretched more thinly than ever before (44 percent).

Leading the campaign to bring back workplace breaks is Martine McCutcheon, who urges Brits to reinstate their “tea and biccy breaks”.

The McVitie’s trolley will embark on a tour of the UK, with workers able to win a visit to their office next month, accompanied by the Love Actually and EastEnders star.

She said: “As someone who loves her tea and biscuit breaks, I’m so excited to help reinstate this treasured tradition for the hard-working people of Britain.

“I’ve had my fair share of long workdays throughout my career, and know how important it is to make sure you take the time for a break.

“Whether you fancy a cuppa and a biccy for some time to yourself, or a quick catch up with colleagues, these moments can turn around a stressful day. So, let’s bring back the biscuit break.”

Having analysed 26 different industries, the study, carried out via OnePoll, found salespeople are taking the smallest amount of time for tea breaks in a typical working day – at nine minutes and 47 seconds– followed by those in the charity sector, at nine minutes and 52 seconds.

And interestingly, men spend three minutes and ten seconds longer on breaks throughout the day than female workers – adding up to more than 13 hours longer a year.

Those in Belfast set aside the longest time for a break from work, while Norwich came out as the least generous to themselves.

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