SME bosses ‘set bad lunchtime example’, survey finds

SME bosses are setting a bad example for their employees at lunchtime by failing to take breaks and not encouraging others to do so, according to a new survey.

Research by Paymentsense found that 47 per cent of managers never leave the office for lunch or only go out sometimes, according to their businesses’ employees.

49 per cent were reported to rarely take more than 30 minutes for lunch, while eight per cent of workers said their managers never take a lunch break at all.

Meanwhile, 36 per cent of workers said their bosses never encourage them to take breaks, while a further 12 per cent are encouraged to, but feel they would be judged if they did.

Small business owners were found to be setting the worst example – 15 per cent do not take lunch breaks, and 19 per cent of those who do don’t leave the office.

“Taking a break is good for you and your business, helping you gain fresh insight on your current projects,” said business coach and Aviatrix founder Helen Bailey.

“Not taking lunch is a bad habit which can be a serious mistake – although you might think you are staying busy and productive, it can limit the time you have to step back and look at the bigger picture.”

Business experts also said that bosses that do not encourage employees to take breaks are revealing deeper problems within their business cultures.

“These statistics just show the tip of the iceberg,” said business coach Rachel Gilmore, commenting on the findings. “If a boss doesn’t encourage you to go to lunch it is a symbol that employees are not valued in the workplace.

“If employees are not valued then they don’t speak up and their ideas are not heard.

“They are also more likely to leave, so the SME will experience higher turnover of staff or increased absence through stress. Both come at a cost to the organisation. Perhaps the real cost is an inability to realise potential, for the individuals and the company.”

For more from the survey, see the Paymentsense website.

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