Stats: Average Lunch Break Down to 39 Minutes

The lunch "hour" may be a concept of the past, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam suggests. More than half of workers (56 percent) said their typical lunch break lasts 30 minutes or less. Among professionals in the 28 U.S. cities surveyed, those in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami take the longest lunches. Employees in Salt Lake City, Des Moines and Cincinnati have the shortest breaks.

What are workers doing at lunch, besides eating? Respondents said they most frequently surf the Internet or social media (52 percent), followed by catching up on personal calls or emails (51 percent). That's up from 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively, from a 2014 survey. Twenty-nine percent of professionals confessed to working during lunch.

Workers were asked, "What is the average length (in minutes) of your typical lunch break?" Their responses:

  • 0-10 minutes: 7 percent
  • 11-20 minutes: 8 percent
  • 21-30 minutes: 41 percent
  • 31-40 minutes: 4 percent
  • 41-50 minutes: 10 percent
  • 51-60 minutes: 27 percent
  • More than 60 minutes: 3 percent

Workers were also asked, "Aside from eating, which of the following activities do you usually engage in during your lunch break?" Their responses:

  • Surf the web/social media: 52 percent
  • Catch up on personal calls/emails: 51 percent
  • Socialize with coworkers: 47 percent
  • Run errands: 32 percent
  • Read: 32 percent
  • Exercise/take a walk: 30 percent
  • Work: 29 percent

*Multiple responses permitted. Top responses shown.

Additional findings:

Workers ages 18 to 34 (60 percent) most often surf the web or social media during lunch, compared to those ages 35 to 54 (55 percent) and 55 and older (34 percent). 

Professionals in Phoenix, Boston and Washington, D.C., work the most on their lunch breaks.

Employees in Miami, New York, Houston and San Diego most frequently socialize with colleagues during their breaks.

San Francisco, Chicago and Cincinnati may be the most health-conscious, with the largest number of respondents who exercise or take a walk during lunchtime.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments in 28 major U.S. cities.

Source: OfficeTeam

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