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1 in 5 British workers fail to take a single lunch break during the working week

1 in 5 British workers fail to take a single lunch break during the working week

BHF lifts the lid on the true state of the nation’s workplace health

Survey results from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) reveals a workforce let down by bosses who don’t prioritise their wellbeing, with 1 in 5 workers (20%) failing to take a & lsquo;lunch’ break and nearly a third of workers (32%) thinking bosses don’t care very much about their health. The onus is on the employer to make a change, with over two-thirds (68%) believing their boss should be taking responsibility for their general health at work (1).

The charity released the results in the run up to National Heart Month to encourage people to sign up to their free Health at Work programme and wear red on February 1st to raise vital funds and boost morale in the workplace.

The BHF conducted a survey of over 1,200 working adults to find out more about how employees view their workplace health and whether they feel invaluable or ignored by managers. The results paint a depressing picture:

Economy over health: More than a quarter of people (26%) believe that being healthy at work is important, but that the current economic climate means their health is simply not a priority for their employer. 

Desk-bound all day: Nearly one in five workers surveyed (18%) do absolutely no physical activity during working hours and over a quarter (27%) only manage up to 20 minutes or less over the entire working day. 

In search of a quick fix: The workers surveyed admit they often feel the need for caffeine and sugar to boost their waning energy. Around a third of people (32%) resort to chocolate as a pick-me-up to help them get through the working day, while over two in five (41%) rely on a cup of coffee.

Stress on the nation’s workforce: Almost half of those surveyed (49%) feel stressed at work on a daily basis. This is a growing trend, which seems to have been heightened by the current economic climate, with two-fifths of employers reporting an increase in stress-related absence over the past year (2). Yet, more than a quarter (27%) of organisations that report stress as one of the top five causes of absence are not actually taking any steps to address it (3).

The BHF is urging employers to take responsibility for employees’ health and sign up to their free Health at Work programme to increase wellbeing in the workplace.

Lisa Purcell, Project Manager for the BHF’s Health at Work programme, said: “& lsquo;Our survey found that the majority of workers think their boss is responsible for health in the workplace (4). We spend 60 per cent of our day at work and it’s time for employers to make health and wellbeing an essential part of the working day (5).

“National Heart Month is the perfect time to make a change. With over half (59%) of people telling us they would be likely to get involved with a fundraising activity at work, we’re encouraging people to Rock up in Red on 1st February to raise vital funds for the BHF, and raise employee morale at the same time.”

Former javelin world champion Fatima Whitbread is getting behind the BHF’s Health at Work programme, saying: “I’m calling on bosses all over the UK to step up to the plate and help colleagues get fit, eat well and look after their mental wellbeing.  Doing so will result in a happier and healthier working environment and help everyone achieve their personal best. 

“There’s plenty of support available to get your employees fabulously fit and raring to go. Why not sign up to the BHF’s Health at Work programme and make it your mission to kick-start your company’s health in 2013?”

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