Recruitment specialist, CV-Library, is urging UK businesses to encourage their employees to take their lunch breaks. According to recent statistics only 29 percent of employees are able to take a full hours’ lunch break, resulting in lower productivity rates.

A survey conducted by Robert Walters Career Lifestyle survey, also reveals that 37 percent of HR professionals are taking 15 minutes or less for their lunch break each day. It also revealed that 16.9 percent are not taking a break at all, which is the highest figure among all professions.

HR professionals are more likely to be taking their break at their desk than the average worker, with 61 percent of HR professional reporting that they don’t leave their desk for lunch.

Vicky Salt, manager, Human Resources Recruitment at Robert Walters says:

“Clearly working through lunch is not a phenomenon limited to bankers, lawyers or other professions traditionally associated with long hours. HR and support professionals are, if anything, more likely to give up their break than their colleagues. While many professionals are content to stay in the office for lunch or even to go without a break, managers should be aware of the impact this can have on staff morale if it becomes the rule rather than the exception.”

With many workers not making the most of their lunch break this means that the Nation’s workers are constantly putting in the extra hours. An average working day is built upon the 9:00-17:30 time frame, with an hours break for lunch. With people arriving earlier, leaving later and not taking a break this can easily turn into a 9-10 hour working day.

The Robert Walters Career Lifestyle Survey also revealed that 21 percent of professionals feel that long working hours or a negative company culture would be the most important factor in leaving their job.

CV-Library is urging businesses to encourage employee breaks and consider how a reduced or no lunch break effects staff productivity. Lee Biggins, managing Director at CV-Library explains:

“Longer hours spent at the desk doesn’t necessarily equate to more work being completed. It’s only natural that employees will become less productive if they haven’t had time to stop for a break. Working lunches are often the result of an organisation’s internal culture, placing the onus on businesses to ensure staff are given sufficient time to refuel and rejuvenate over lunch, so that they are ready to work productively for the remainder of the afternoon.”

Latest figures compiled by the Telegraph conclude that a third of employees eat at their desk and four in ten reply to emails or take calls within their lunch break – with work eating into their lunch hour, productivity later in the day can often slip, ultimately, affecting their performance within the business.

Biggins explains the ethos he has installed in his own business: “I’m a strong believer that it is best to have staff productive in their core working hours, enabling them to enjoy their full lunch-time entitlement and leave the office on time. At CV-Library, everyone takes lunch at the same time. This prevents any work-related interruptions, ensuring that every member of the team has an hour to step away from the desk feel ready for the afternoon ahead. It also helps to breed a friendlier and more sociable internal atmosphere. Our model won’t fit all businesses, but there is always a way for employers to make sure their staff take a break.”