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Survey: Office lunch hour now often lasts 30 minutes or less

The two-hour lunch, which in the old days could involve dry martinis, overpriced Pu-Pu platters, and deplorable antics, seems to be fading away, suggests a OfficeTeam study that found that nearly half of today’s employees spend a half an hour or less devoted to lunch.

Like an environmental scientist chronicling the eating patterns of wolverines and coyotes, the California-based staffing service OfficeTeam commissioned a research firm to check out the lunch habits of US workers. To that end, the research firm conducted telephone interviews with more than 400 US workers.

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The study didn’t delve much into why the workplace lunch hour may be shrinking. Presumably, possible factors could be increased productivity, taskmaster bosses, and company bean counters who harry employees who attempt to turn expense-account entries into a personal art form.

But what does emerge from the study are some interesting data points about today’s work force and the midday meal.

Some workers, it seems, have become so adept at wolfing down their chow that they need less than 10 minutes for lunch. In the OfficeTeam survey, 9 percent of respondents either fell into that category --- or skipped lunch entirely.

Meanwhile, lunch has evolved into a multi-tasking interlude for many. Only 1 percent of survey respondents said that all they do during their lunch breaks is simply eat. But 27 percent of respondents said they also surfed the Web or engaged in social media activities while lunching.

In a statement, OfficeTeam executive director  Robert Hosking, had this to say about lunch: “Lunch breaks aren’t just for eating -- they provide time to clear your head and recharge. Workers also can use their lunch breaks to get to know colleagues better and build their professional networks.” 

Chris Reidy can be reached at
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