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The Australian lunch break…disappearing

Published on 10/07/2013

 Australians are skipping lunch, eating at their desks and catching up on personal admin in ever increasing numbers, according to research conducted by ING DIRECT. The disappearing lunch break comes as Australians admit that work and personal demands are eating into their lunch breaks.

Almost one in three of us (28%) are eating at our desk; a similar proportion (33%), are skipping lunch, entirely, once a week and one in ten usually work through their lunch break.

The research also found:

  • The typical Aussie lunch break is between 15-30 mins
  • 37% of us spend lunch time catching up on phone calls; 31% do personal admin and 30% go shopping while 24% catch up on social media
  • Almost one in three use their lunch break to catch up on work
  • 9% of Australians say their lunch break has become less regular in the past 18 months
  • 7% use their lunch break to go to the gym

Health and productivity expert, Andrew May, believes this could be having a big impact on the overall health of many Australians.

“What I find scary about this research is that many Australians aren’t even seeing the light of day during their work hours which has a detrimental impact on health, let alone productivity and managing stress.”

When asked whether work demands takeover your lunch break, 21% said regularly and 12% said very regularly.

“Taking a lunch break away from your desk, even if it is only 15 to 20 minutes, is a proven way to increase productivity and decision making throughout the afternoon. Human beings do not work in a linear fashion like machines and taking regular breaks is imperative to help sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.”

“On a positive note, 34% of us ‘always’ take a lunch break away from the desk; 36% never skip lunch and 71% of us are satisfied with their lunch break,” said May.

ING DIRECT conducted this research to find out how Australians are spending their lunch times as part of a campaign to make better use of their lunch break through a series of unique and interactive events, including a showcase by UK magician Dynamo in Sydney on 18 July and Melbourne on 19 July.

To find out about the free lunchtime events, click here.


For media interviews with Andrew May, contact:  

Caroline Thomas
+61 2 9018 5160
+61 413 317 225


ING DIRECT pioneered branchless banking in Australia by offering the first online, high interest, fee free savings account. Our low cost operating model allows us to pass these savings on to the customer in the form of great value products and services. Today, ING DIRECT has more than 1.4 million customers with $29 billion in deposits and $38 billion in mortgages and a range of products including transaction accounts and superannuation. Please note ING DIRECT is never abbreviated to ING.

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