25/03/2011 13:10 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Reclaim Your Lunch Break, Say Health Experts

If you work in a busy office, chances are you've found yourself skipping lunch from time to time. Or perhaps you work right through without a break more often than not. In fact according to a survey by private health company Bupa, more and more of us aren't taking a break, thanks to too much pressure at the office.

office-workers-lunch-break Half of workers say they're too busy to take a lunch break. Photo: Corbis

The survey, which polled 1,000 workers, found that half say they are simply too busy to stop working, while a third feel pressured by their managers to stay at their desk and not take a lunch break.

In other words, as we try to work harder in an attempt to keep our jobs in these uncertain economic times, the traditional midday break is fast disappearing.

The problem, however, is that not taking a break doesn't make many people work harder. In fact, according to the survey, half the participants said they worked far less effectively in the afternoon after not taking time off for lunch.

And just over one in five admitted when they work through lunch, they feel irritable and stressed for the rest of the day.

According to Bupa, this work-through-lunch ethic could be costing businesses millions of pounds in lost productivity because workers are stressed and burned-out after being at their desks all day.

With stress already causing a problem in keeping an increasing number of workers off sick and health experts warning that working long hours without breaks can cause other health problems such as heart disease too, it's not good news for employers or workers.

Will you reclaim your lunch break today?