ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

The average employee gives their company 3 weeks of free work every year

There's a good chance you're being screwed over

The average employee gives their company 3 weeks of free work every year
23 September 2016

Has the good old fashioned lunch hour really bitten the dust?

According to new research only 17 per cent of British workers take their full hour, with the average break clocking it at a rather unnourishing 28 minutes.

Don’t worry, before you give yourself a headache trying to figure it out, we’ve done the maths (with the help of a sturdy calculator).   

With 253 workings days in 2016, based on an average week of five eight-hour days, a worker who only takes 28 minutes lunch is owed a whopping 8,096 minutes break time per year.

That’s 16.9 whole days.

The research, conducted by Mastercard and Ipsos MORI, is based on a survey of 1,300 Brits aged between 16 and 75. It also reveals that 66 per cent of workers don’t even leave the workplace during their lunchbreak.

So whatever the reason – trying to impress the boss, up to your eyeballs in work, or too skint to manage even a cheeky Greggs sausage roll (we’ve all been there, mate) – Brits are spending less time out of the office than ever before.

The health implications are obvious – official health advice warning against excessive periods of sitting on your arse, with inactivity linked to heart disease and diabetes – but working without breaks is also proven to stunt productivity, which means at the end of the working day, your boss should be thanking you for taking the full hour.

To help you make the most of your hour, here are five cool things to do during your lunch:

Listen to a couple of TED Talks

Dan Pink’s “The Puzzle of Motivation” and Shawn Achor’s “The Happy Secret To Better Work” are more than appropriate - and amongst the most popular ever TED Talks.

Get into a new series on Netflix

Our current favourite is Hibana (Spark), a revealing drama series about Japan’s competitive stand-up comedy scene. Funny, heartbreaking, and all that good stuff.

Read something

We’re hooked on Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, a gripping account of landlords, evictees, and the failures of the American Dream in Milwaukee. Seriously powerful.

Check out

Well damn

Essentially a collection of viral hits. Spend your lunch hour getting wilfully lost down the imgur rabbit hole of memes, gifs, and videos.

Have a root around the iPlayer

There are loads of hidden gems tucked away on there. An hour with the comedy doc British Sitcom: 60 Years of Laughing at Ourselves is a lunch very well spent.