Survey: 22% of managers consider workers who take a lunch break to be ‘less hardworking’

While it can be hard enough to figure out what to eat for lunch at work, it turns out that some employees feel like taking a lunch break tarnishes their manager’s perception of them.

Tork‘s “Take Back the Lunch Break” survey — out last month — showed that it’s not all in our heads, finding that 22% of managers in North America consider workers who do so are “less hardworking.” And other findings mirror this data — almost 20% of employees in North America “worry” that their managers won’t consider them “hardworking” if they break for lunch regularly.

KRC Research and Jennifer Deal, Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership and Affiliated Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California (USC), worked together on Tork’s research. They surveyed 1,600 workers in Canada and the United States.

The benefits of breaking for lunch

According to the infographic, while 81% of employees who break for lunch each day are people with “a strong desire to be an active member in their company.” Almost 90% of North American employees report that giving themselves this time to eat during the work day “helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.”

It also says that employees who break for lunch at work each day “are more likely to be satisfied with their current job and feel valued by their employer.”

What happens when lunch breaks take a back seat

Deal commented on the findings in a statement.

“Reluctance to take a lunch break is often perceived as a display of dedication to the job … In reality, taking time away for a lunch break can help to reduce stress, increase engagement, and restore energy levels, making employees feel more effective and productive back at the office,” she said.

In other words, the only person you’re hurting by not taking a lunch break is yourself — but there are many reasons why you might avoid doing so.

While 13% of employees think that those they work with “will judge them” because of their lunch break, 38% report that they “don’t feel encouraged to” have one.

But the research also shows that they play a role in performance reviews, with 34% of managers in North America saying that they factor in the frequency of a worker’s lunch breaks during their assessment.

Tork has designated the third Friday in June “National Take Back the Lunch Break Day” as part of its efforts.