Did you just work through your lunch?

Pin It

I’m betting that a lot of our readers skipped their lunch today, or sat at their desk reading The Work Buzz while they ate their lunch.

Why? Well, I was just reading the results of a survey by OfficeTeam, a specialized staffing and recruitment company.

According to OfficeTeam, the managers they surveyed said that they worked through their lunch period an average of three days a week!

And we know managers and executives set the tone for their departments and teams. Chances are, if a manager or supervisor isn’t taking a lunch, their employees feel like they shouldn’t be, either.

You can take a look at the details of the survey here.

What about you? How often do you take a short lunch, or no lunch at all? Let us  

Hey! Don’t go yet! Be sure to check out our other entries on The Work Buzz blog! And be sure to bookmark the site. Come back and visit us often!

Some other recent topics:

40 Comments
  1. I’ve worked through my lunches for a while now. We lost a few people in our co. and its just too much to do without using that extra time.

  2. Hi Patrick -

    It’s amazing how many people work through lunch. Partly because they don’t want to lose focus on a project and partly because (I know from my own experience) sometimes lunch just becomes “one more thing we need to do”!

    We do need to be careful though – it’s one thing to be focused on a project, or perhaps you’re new and want to show your employer you go the extra mile – but, we are creatures of habit too, and working through lunch can just become a habit (and a bad one at that – everyone needs the break…plus we all know how stretch breaks, food and some down time will re-energize and make us better able to perform.)

    Thanks for your post and the reminder!

  3. I get so busy mentally and physically it’s hard to just stop. Lunch usually ends up 20 minutes. Unless, I keep occupied with a distracting crossword puzzle.

  4. It’s a shame that we have come to that to work through our lunches, we are a miserable nation as it is, the hardest thing is to make oneself happy, those who are shine like a diamond in the rough, but now to work through lunch (guilty myself, not because I wanted to, but had to)it’s just a shame.

    No wonder Europeans (guilty of that too and proud to be) are not only healthier, thinner, but live a better and happier life, we in this country are eons away from that…and yes I do live in Europe as well…

  5. It’s weird that some people take a preverse pride in how much they’re slaves to their employers. Workers need to put their foot down and say “no more”. Why do you think coporations and their government allies have worked so hard to destroy unions?

  6. I only work though lunch for special circumstances or if I am compensated for it. You know the saying, there is no free lunch. This also applies to who I work for. If I am regularly being required or compelled to work though what supposed to by my time, then I would like comp time or or a free lunch. I like to work hard and go the extra mile, but I do not like it when employers try to abuse me.

  7. I have worked through my lunch for years. It has been my choice to do so. Too much hassle involved in going out to get food and just time taken away that might cause me to stay later that evening in some cases. Not everyone does need a break as stated in a previous comment. I’m one of those people.

    Today I’m reading this while I eat, so it’s not like I never take a break and am adult enough to know when I have time for this sort of thing. If the company needs us to stay focused, during month end close for instance, they provide lunch as encouragement and thanks for the effort. I have no problem with that approach.

  8. I always work through lunch unless I have to run errands. I don’t have Internet at home (live too far out for cable, can’t afford it anyway), so I spend lunch either typing emails, working on projects, or looking for jobs for my husband. He’s been out of work over a year. I rarely take my 15 minute breaks during the day, either.

  9. I have a rather unique workplace where the boss of this three-person office expects the little worker bees to set aside what they are doing at 12:00 sharp and join him and his wife for an hour in the on-site kitchen. That hour is included in your time worked, and he does not keep records nor dock you for your being late. Regular office hours are 8:30 to 4:00. Employees are paid a competitive wage on a weekly basis. The office is a 15-minute commute.

    The catches are that the job is as dull as doorknobs, and there is no major medical insurance benefit because the organization can’t afford it.

    What makes this place so different? The boss has held his position for about 40 years and is in his mid-seventies. If you want a “lifestyle” job, you have to look for management that is eccentric in the right way.

  10. I usually prefer to work straight through the day, due to the fac that I believe that I can accomplish more things and maintain my focus without being distracted and taken off course.

    Because, once I have a pace set, I normally do not quit until I have achieved the project end-state for that day. In that scenario, I will usually bring small snacks and eat as I go throughout the day so I can maintain enough nourishment to carry me through the work shift. I have been known to work maybe 8, 10, 12, or even 16 hours in a single day so I could acomplish the goal of a forcasted project end-state for that particular workday.

  11. Good point. We are adults, and we should have the right to make our own decisions on when we should or should not take that break, at our own option, as we should see fit.

    I served a year tour of active duty in Iraq, so I sincerely believe that I have EARNED THE RIGHT to work a long, steady day and cut out early, if I wish to do so.

  12. I once worked for a company that did not allow us to work overtime, even by skipping lunch. So, I sometimes took my hour-long lunch break, although usually I cut it short if I had been a few minutes late to work or had projects to complete. Not taking a lunch break is the worst thing that one can do. Not only was I stressed out for the rest of the day, but I also suffered severe heartburn after wolfing down my lunch at my desk. Just getting out of the office for an hour, eating lunch in the cafeteria and then taking a walk and maybe going shopping improved my mood for the remainder of the day and made me feel more productive on the job. When my managers skipped lunch, they ended up taking their bad moods out on the rest of us.

  13. I have to work through lunch because if I don’t management will monitor me.

    One day, I was meeting some of my previous co-workers for lunch. I was rushing to finish my works. Then I told them I will be back in about an hour and one of the manager look at the clock. But it does not mater because I’m an exempt employee. I work an average 10 hrs a day, 50 hrs a week.

    Other day, my husband came over to my work to have lunch with me. We were just have lunch outside the building, there is one manger actually follow me and went back in to the department to tell those people who I was having lunch with one of the old guy. The thing is that they don’t even know who my husband is and they just start making a rumor about it.

    So I finally said something to some of the employees that I was followed and monitored, I make the comments by stating what happen to I went to HR to tell them that I have lunch with my husband and they were saying bad things about it. What happened to my privacy? But I found out that I was not the only one who has been followed. Anyway, I wanted to quite my job so bad, but couldn’t because the job market was so bad.

  14. Most of the time I have gone out for lunch which takes about 1 hour.
    After the additions of kids to the family I preferred eating at my desk so that I can get out of the office early and give that time to kids who are at the day care for more time then we are at the office.

    Recently I started working from home with kids still being at the day care. So I still take lunch while doing some house work or at my desk or just skip the lunch.

    I feel its just matter of choice and not pressure.

  15. Wow people get 20 minutes for lunch?
    I’m a school administrator now. I have to hold meetings while I’m “at lunch” AND I take a ton of work home.

  16. I actually recently left a position after working just over a year (12 hour night shifts) and hardly ever took a true “lunch break”. I was lucky to actually GET a break because several of the managers in my department never took breaks.

    I work in the tech field and did a good deal of running back and forth into a large data center to take care of various systems issues. I had the feeling early on that taking a full 1 hour lunch break was somewhat frowned upon; and with the magnitude of problems that occurred by the minute, I just fell in line with my “manager” (only in title, since my expertise was actually stronger generally than theirs).

    Sometimes, we just have to “get away” from it though. If not, it will consume you and cause you to become bitter. In agreement with Juanita , sometimes we just HAVE to say NO…for health’s sake!

  17. I never miss my lunch…most of the time it takes 1-2 hours to eat my lunch while I’m working; somtimes I take a real lunch!

  18. I do work through lunch a lot, but I realize the importance of taking a break. This article was a good reminder of how important taking a break really is.

  19. I work through lunch everyday. My company has daily productivity goals that must be met and lunch is more often than not just not an option. I dont even bother packing one anymore because I know I will not get to eat it. Let’s hear it for 2 square a day!

  20. I worked at an office for 8 months that never took lunch breaks or breaks and I felt that using the restroom 2 times a day was overdoing it. I finally became so miserable at this job that I resigned. The great equalizer for all of us is time and when a workplace cannot respect its workers enough to offer down time and adhere to it they deserve to keep the worker that works through lunch and breaks yet resents the company and therefore does not support it well in other ways. We need a new system in this country where the worker works in joy and not in fear.

  21. I am glad for the reminder and although I usually work thru lunch I think I will actually take a 30 minute break away from my desk today.

  22. Lunch break, what’s that? I have been with my current company since Dec. 06. the only time I ever take time for lunchis when I take the day off..twice in the last 22 months….

    I set a standard for myself that I find inmpossile to break. I hae to say there are days when I would love to take 30 minutes to unwind a bit… uhoh .. there’s my boss gotta go…. lol

  23. Hi, y’all. Skipping your lunch break is the stupidest thing ever. It doesn’t have to be a “froo-froo” break; just your time away from the job. You are NOT your job (except for the time you are supposed to be).

    There’s a reason; we’re not workhorses. I have a facetious comment; it goes like this: “just hook me up to a TPN and insert a catheter and I’m good to go (not).”

    Anyhow, I get 30 minutes for lunch, I do often eat at the computer and I use the 30 minute break to take a long walk,talk on the phone, walk to the mailbox,etc.

  24. I feel non productive when I don’t work through lunch. My job in the Information security field involves some people facing services. I like to provide good customer service response time. I try take about ten minutes and do something non work related but then its usually back to the grind while i’m finishing up my food!

  25. Most of the time I bring my lunch because its too expensive to eat out and I’m not the best at getting to work early so I eat at my desk while I work too make up the time. Besides that, I’m not really fond of the breakroom with no windows and its too hot for the picnic tables outside in FL. I’m also like some of the rest and get caught up in my work and have to peel myself away from my monitor to get up and get lunch…sad.

  26. Lunch breaks are definately frowned upon at my workplace. What’s worse is that bathroom breaks are almost even more frowned upon. I have worked a number of places where the boss doesn’t break so no one else does either. It’s more than a bad habit. I would love to work somewhere where I was treated like a human being instead of a machine!

  27. Jackie – Better be careful searching for jobs for your husband online at lunch…

    More and more IT staffs are using internet monitoring software and run reports on sites that are visited and when…

    You don’t want your name on a report that’s given to your boss showing you on job-search sites at lunch.

    I’ve seen articles where people were let go “for no reason” when their boss had to cut staff, and the boss let them go because the boss ASSUMED that they were looking for another job anyway…

    Sad, but true – if you HAVE to search on your husband’s behalf, it might be a good idea to share that with your supervisor, so they know what you’re doing and you’re upfront about it…

    It would be a TRAGEDY for YOU to lose YOUR job because you’re trying to help out your family….welcome to today’s workplace…sad, but true…

  28. While I understand that working feel lunch might be more productive for some projects, I also think lunches should be spent with others socializing. It’s important for team building and managers should encourage that in their staff. Socializing with colleagues is an important part of a job and would be better done at lunch than wasting time on the clock, anyway.

  29. I just read an email from an old work associate; I thought she would follow my lead and post this for herself but I had to share this. She said, (and this is a direct copy/paste), “Not only do I work through lunch; I work through dinner too!!” She works the day 12 hour shift 8 a.m. to 8 p.m…

    I have had one manager actually throw his hands up in the air in a “Where have you BEEN?” gesture when I took a longer than expected (whatever that time is) restroom break. Most companies don’t care about the grunt-workers, all they want is for their numbers to look right.

    Just hard-wire me to the chair and computer, please; and pass me that bag o’ [Integrated] Chips to munch on and I’ll be fine…LOL

  30. I’m a manager, and I definitely wind up working through my lunch a lot of the time, and I certainly do not enjoy it, but the fact of the matter, for many of us, is that we are overworked and understaffed, especially in this struggling economy.

    I could just as well mosey along and take the break that the law says I am entitled to, but at the end of the day if my workload isn’t complete, that’s added stress I don’t want to deal with, or, that is extra time that I must stay late to finish the job anyway.

    It’s a difficult situation because my company frowns upon not taking a lunch as well as working “off the clock,” even for those of us who are salaried. Yet, if we cannot complete designated tasks in the allotted time, the company points the finger at us and says it is inefficiency, when it is really just an unrealistic workload.

    I don’t agree with this practice nor do I think this is an ideal situation, but I’d rather get my job done, have peace of mind, and not have to deal with the wrath from above, even if it does mean sacrificing lunch breaks and a little personal time!

  31. I catch myself working through lunch sometimes but remember that that is your time to take a break. You need that time to relax, regroup, and think. Go take a walk if necessary it is good for your mental health.

  32. I worked for a large car rental company for the past several months and ran into the same thing with them. I went to lunch only a handful of times but every day even if i had to work through lunch, i was required to punch out like i had been on a 1 hour lunch.

    i had days where i didnt even get to sit down and try to eat something due to how busy we were and the sheer lack of staff employeed at the office. I started looking for another job since i was so sick of working 12 hours shifts with not even 10 minutes to get a break and was fired for looking for another job.

  33. I also work through my lunch. No one cares if you work through your lunch as long as every thing gets done. Problem is, sometimes you can’t get everything done, that’s why you are working through your lunch. Even worse, sometimes that isn’t enough. We are ordered not to put extra hours on the clock (I’m management, so I don’t get paid overtime, just straight time for extra hours). I’ve worked off the clock to finish things more than once.

    The higher ups will pile on so much work and set unreasonable deadlines. It’s extortion. You’re ordered to get something done or you will be written up, but you’re not allowed to log extra hours because they are trying to look like heroes and save the organization money. So, you’re sitting in an office past 9:00 pm when you should have left hours earlier to finish things by a deadline. And all the time you’re working and not getting paid.

    It’s criminal and it is a manipulation that I’m sure many other workers are dealing with, I just wish someone would do something about it. Can you imagine what it would be like for you in your company or organization if you blew the whistle on this kind of thing? You wouldn’t have a job for long, and in this economy you can’t afford to give up a job very easily which is why many people are suffering through this. I’m sure there are labor laws against this kind of treatment. Also, I’ll gladly work 8 hours straight and leave after 8 hours instead of being scheduled for 9 hours to account for a one hour lunch that I rarely get.

  34. The only people who can really do something about this abuse are the workers themselves who are too intimidated to stand up for themselves.

  35. I did not get intimidated by it. I did stand up for myself but end up they did not like it, and I’m a bad apple.

    The things is that I work 12 hours a day for the last 4 days in a row. I just have to take a lunch break because I could think after all the long hours.

  36. Pam illustrates what I’ve experienced in my last job as well as my current job. From my experience of 25 years working in IT, it’s gotten much worse over the past 5 years. The corporate workplace has become a very cruel place indeed. I’m miserable and a feeling of dread has taken over my life. Impossible deadlines, working for free – evenings and weekends.

    The unions of yesteryear battled corporate America, and literally paid with blood for a 5 day work week and an 8 hour work day. This is all now a fantasy. I wonder if we should unionize again and fight this madness.

    This seems to have made the rich richer and the middle class is now a corporate slave.

  37. I work in field service and have been told that I MUST take a one hour lunch,but if I wait too late in the day (after 3 pm) then I can NOT take a lunch, neither can I leave early.

    There is also no overtime allowed unless it is preapproved. Bottom line, I work nine hours for eight hours pay.

    Essentially another 250 hours a year for no pay and since it would be overtime that’s 7,500.00 which I am shorted due to “lunch” (I haven’t had “lunch” in 15 years)

  38. I work at an assisted living home on weekends third shift. The state requires min. 2 aids per shift. One must be a med-tech. I am always the med-tech. If you are required to have 2 aids on, I do not understand how they can take a 1/2 from my time, if I can not clock out, if I can not leave and since I am the only med-tech on the shift? I usually do not clock out but they take the 1/2 hour out of my pay. I inquired to pay me the full 8 hours since I am always on duty and can not technically clock out. Through my research if i can not be relived of my duties can they legally take that half hour from me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>