EMPLOYEES in Southampton now spend less time than ever on their lunch break.

Figures from Workthere show that the average worker now only takes 30 minutes for their lunch break.

The results show that office employees in Southampton eat lunch at their desk on average three days per week and even when they do take a lunch break, they often don’t step out of the office, with over a third of those polled (36 per cent) saying they rarely leave the office at lunch time.

Additionally, seven per cent agreed they felt pressure to skip having lunch and work through their lunch hour.

The figures also showed that Londoners were most likely to skip their lunch hour altogether, closely followed by Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich.

More than half of UK workers (52 per cent) avoid their lunch break completely – a significant shift from the traditional one-hour break which is ostensibly the norm for many UK businesses.

Workthere was also keen to understand how the office environment impacts these lunchtime statistics and found that 34 per cent of those questioned in Southampton said that access to outside space at lunchtime would make them more productive at work, with 24 per cent confirming a quiet area to escape to would make a difference to the time they spend on their lunch break.

Examples of alternative spaces included roof terraces, a subsidised canteen, quiet areas and even lunch hour activities to encourage staff to step away from their desks.

Cal Lee, the founder of Workthere, said: “We have seen wellness establish itself firmly on the workplace agenda with employers in Southampton increasingly recognising the benefits of ensuring staff are content, happy and most importantly, in good health.

“Part of this is creating a productive office environment where employees feel comfortable taking a longer lunch break and engaging with colleagues.”

The group which is a new venture founded by Savills to help businesses find flexible, co-working and serviced office space, commissioned a poll of 2,000 full-time workers across Britain on their lunchtime habits to find out how long they actually take for lunch.