Survey: 56% of Employees Take a Lunch Break of 30 Minutes or Less

Is it REALLY a break if it's only 15 minutes?

Image by Image source/ Getty Images

By Jane Burnett

While research has found that more than half of Americans say that they can’t go on a lunch break, new data from staffing firm OfficeTeam shows that 56% of American workers have a lunch break of 30 minutes or less and 52% of American employees spend it on the internet.

An independent research firm surveyed more than 2,800 adult office workers “in 28 major U.S. cities.”

Here’s how long people take for lunch

Here are the averages:

  • “0-10 minutes:” 7 percent
  • “11-20 minutes:” 8 percent
  • “21-30 minutes:” 41 percent
  • “31-40 minutes:” 4 percent
  • “41-50 minutes:” 10 percent
  • “51-60 minutes:” 27 percent
  • “More than 60 minutes:” 3 percent

While most people say that they take a lunch break between an average of 21 and 30 minutes, the next most popular amount of time was an average of between 51 minutes and one hour at 27%. Just three percent say of workers say they take lunch for an average of more than an hour.

“Certainly, there are times when work is extremely busy and going out for a lunch break isn’t feasible, but you should always strive to take one because skipping a midday break could lead to lowered productivity, especially as the day progresses,” Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, told Ladders.

What people do – other than eat – during lunchtime

Here’s the breakdown — people had the option to choose multiple answers:

  • “Surf the web/social media:” 52 percent
  • “Catch up on personal calls/emails:” 51 percent
  • “Socialize with coworkers:” 47 percent
  • “Run errands:” 32 percent
  • “Read:” 32 percent
  • “Exercise/take a walk:” 30 percent
  • “Work:” 29 percent

Men were more likely to “socialize with” their colleagues at 51%, compared to 44% of women. But while 54% of people ages 18 to 34 said they do this, 47% of those 35 to 54 said they do, and 34% of those ages 55 and old said they do.

The cities with the lengthiest lunch breaks are San Francisco (#1), Los Angeles (#2) and Miami (#3). The states with the shortest ones are Salt Lake City (#1), Des Moines (#2) and Cincinnati (#3). In terms of which workers work out or go on a walk the most during lunch, those in San Francisco, Chicago, and Cincinnati do so most.

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