Americans are too busy for lunch breaks, reports AOL. Rather than leaving the office for some much needed relaxation, most workers are opting to dine at their desks. According to a survey, 62% of American office workers usually eat their lunch in the same spot they work all day.
In a weakened economy, many employees feel a heightened need to prove their worth or look like a superstar worker who goes above and beyond to get the job done. Plus, when coworkers are working through their lunch breaks, no one wants to be the person who looks like a slacker.
For others, it is not just a matter of saving time, but saving money. Eating out routinely gets expensive, so bringing a lunch to eat at the desk is also the thrifty choice for the American worker.
On a national level, the United States does not mandate that businesses allow their employees a lunch break. However, 22 states do have explicit laws on the books stating that workers must take a half hour to hour lunch break. Nonetheless, even workers in these states often find themselves ignoring the law to chow down next to their computers.
In addition to lunch, 27% will eat breakfast at their desk (at least they are not skipping it altogether), and 50% will snack at their desk throughout the workday. Unfortunately, using the desk as a dining table could be a health hazard. With about two in three workers admitting they clean their desk less than once a month, the unsanitary surface leaves workers susceptible to foodborne illnesses.
AOL notes that lunches are not the only perk employees are foregoing: even vacation time is being passed over so that workers do not fall behind at their jobs. A study shows that while citizens in most countries of the industrialized world exhaust all of their vacation days each year, United States citizens waste an average of two days they are entitled to annually. Collectively, that amounts to a whopping $34 billion in lost time.
Even when Americans do take their vacation days, they are not actually leaving work behind. Another new study finds that more than half of Americans plan to work during their summer vacations. 30% of employees said they would read work emails during their vacations, 23% would take work phone calls, and 13% anticipate receiving new assignments from a boss or client. Evidently, even if workers are out of the office physically, many have not left mentally.
Photo Credit: Richard Masoner