Time-poor UK workers want to engage in more rewarding activities during their lunch breaks, according to research from mobile payments and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo and digital ordering company Preoday.
What workers want
According to the report, two-thirds (66%) of people take a maximum half hour lunch break during the working day. Moreover, many don’t have the opportunity to relax or enjoy this free time; four out of ten say they need to spend their break getting outstanding work done.
Younger workers are the most affected; of those aged between 18 and 34, 39% say they only spend between 5 and 15 minutes away from their desks and a more worrying half (49%) are currently choosing to just “get more work done” at lunch time
When asked what they would prefer to do, more than two thirds (67%) said they would like to do something relaxing such as shopping, socialising with colleagues or friends, doing something cultural, reading or watching TV. Aside from relaxing, the desire to be active was also clear: 64% said they’d either like to spend time going for a walk, running errands, going to the gym or taking an external class.
Nick Hucker, CEO of Preoday, said: “It’s not a big surprise to find that break times are being eaten into by heavy workloads. Saying that, in an age when the health and wellbeing of staff is a huge focus, we’d expect more companies to emphasise the benefits of taking time away from the desk during lunch. Clearly workers themselves are crying out for a more rewarding lunch time experience. It’s time businesses place more consideration on how they can help employees balance their working day.”
How workers eat
With less time taken for lunch breaks, the survey revealed that workers are 14% more likely to grab food from their workplace canteen than venture out to an external eatery. Despite this, 72% pointed to changes their canteens could make to better encourage them to visit more frequently . Two key themes stood out – value and speed.
One in three workers (28%) said they didn’t see enough value or feel rewarded for their custom, and 57% said their experience would improve if their canteen had a tailored loyalty scheme. However, only 15% are aware of their canteen having a loyalty scheme in place.
With regards speed of service, 40% would visit their canteen more if the service was quicker or if they could pre-order food to collect without queuing at all. At the moment, just 17% of workplace canteens offer a pre-ordering service to customers.
Michael Rolph, CEO of Yoyo, said: “Ideally, our lunch breaks should be seen as a daily oasis from the grind of the office – and usually the closest lunch spot in proximity, workplace canteens should feel a sense of duty to deliver this more rewarding experience. Being able to send customers off feeling valued and personally rewarded for their custom is no longer difficult for workplace canteens to deliver. Introducing the right technology and harnessing the data that can reveal what their customers actually want would go a very long way to improving what can currently be pretty poor excuse of a break from our working day.”
This survey reflects the anonymised responses of 2,003 workers based in the UK with a workplace canteen, surveyed between 12th – 19th September 2018. The survey was conducted by Opinium for Preoday and Yoyo to analyse how canteens in the workplace can improve the quality of a time-poor worker’s lunch break.