Fewer than a third of British workers take their full lunch break each day

And even when breaks are being taken, they’re not always legitimate. The data revealed 42 per cent of people respond to calls and 40 per cent reply to emails in their lunch hour, while 46 per cent said they rarely do something relaxing.

In fact, the Bupa research has revealed almost half of employees at 43 per cent feel they have too much work to stop for a few minutes to catch their breath and regain their composure, while 28 per cent said they never take any break at all during the working day.

The study follows the Christmas period coming to a close as many Brits return to work this week, and the healthcare group recommends businesses make a fresh start in 2015 by encouraging their staff to take breaks. It follows a guide from 5 January that advised small firms to embrace new year’s resolutions, while a 7 January study found stress can make employees behave childishly.

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Some 64 per cent of full-time workers are not always able to take their legally required 20 minute break when working six hours or more, according to the report, which puts health at risk while the company may also suffer a lack of productivity due to lack of performance.

Patrick Watt, corporate director at Bupa, said: “It’s worrying that some employers are not encouraging their staff to take time out of the working day to relax and recharge. Not only does this affect productivity levels, but it can have far wider implications on business performance.

“Taking a proper break helps employees to stay alert, focused, and performing at their peak. While we appreciate everyone is very busy, employers should start 2015 as they mean to go on by recognising the importance of taking breaks, leading by example and not letting breaks fall by the wayside.”

Managers are highlighted as setting a bad example for staff, with 24 per cent of employees claiming their boss doesn’t take a break, which makes them feel pressurised into following the same behaviour.

More than half of workers at 52 per cent said that skipping lunch puts them in a bad mood, and 40 per cent are concerned they will become unproductive in the afternoon, while 30 per cent feel ill due to working the extra time.

Image via Shutterstock.

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