I found this article on the BBC News Magazine web page which got me all fired up just by it’s title “Are lunch breaks really for wimps?“. The article points to research which paints a truly scary picture of current work practices. The following are some quotes –
“Only one in six workers takes a regular lunch break.”
“One consequence of the credit crunch is that breaks are getting even shorter as job insecurity increases.”
“Employees are struggling to keep on top of to-do lists and think the answer is to work harder, eating a sandwich at their desk as opposed to taking a full lunch break, and also not having sufficient breaks during the rest of the day.”
“The vast majority of people are having lunch at their desk while working. That’s the average person now. Very rarely do they get out of the office.”
“If senior management create a culture that lunch is for wimps, it’s counter productive. We all need breaks.”
The research quoted in this article, if valid, foretells a very bleak scenario for office workers and in turn for the vast majority of those workers who spend their lives working on an office PC. Unfortunately, the article makes no reference to computers or computer related injuries, and I feel this is a major omission by its author(s).
The consequences of the above findings are abundantly clear however, and will directly relate to an increase in the number of reported repetitive strain injuries. If the research is valid, then we could be on the verge of a large RSI epidemic.
Breaks are there for a reason, and never more so than in today’s computer operating office environment. It is imperative for our health and safety that break times are observed religiously, and it is an extremely worrying trend when scenarios develop where we fear for our jobs over our health. The situation is of course exacerbated by the pressures of the office work environment as I described in this previous blog entry.
I myself am a victim of the “not taking a break to get though workload” syndrome, where other workers around me did take breaks regardless of workload. They are still happily employed in the same occupations, whereas I am not. Please learn from my mistake.
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