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Lunch is key to staff retention

Employee retention is a big concern for FDs, who need to be able to rely on a strong and skilled team. Research points to lunch being a key way to keep staff motivated and loyal


One key part of any financial director’s objectives is staff retention, especially when the impact that high staff turnover has on a business is considered.

A big impact is cost, and any investment made in training staff and developing their skills is not only lost, but will need to be paid out again to train a new member of staff

There are also recruitment costs to factor in and the time it will take. Staff leaving also affects a well-built team’s dynamic and morale, in turn impacting on productivity levels.

There is one simple way to keep valued employees engaged, motivated and productive: encourage them to take breaks.

What is expected of you

You’re expected to provide rest breaks, such as lunch breaks, to workers who are over 18, as well as daily rest, which is 11 hours between working days, and weekly breaks, which works out as 24 hours uninterrupted a week, or 48 hours each fortnight.

Ideally, the break will be taken in the middle of the day and employees should be allowed to spend their break away from their workstation.Breaks do not need to be paid, meaning there is no financial benefit to preventing breaks..

Encouraging staff to take breaks is a unique approach

Research conducted in 2016 found that less than one third of UK workers, just 30%, take proper lunch breaks, such as going outdoors for a walk, or leaving their desks. The survey by the National Charity Partnership of 1,700 workers also found that the remaining 70% spend their time working at their desks (24%) or browsing the internet (46%).

Over one third of people cited ‘having too much work’, while one in eight put it down to ‘stress levels’ and another one in eight said it was down to the ‘workplace culture’.

Breaks reduce stress levels

Work-related stress leads to almost 10 million lost working days a year, directly costing businesses money and impacting productivity. If staff taking breaks improves levels of stress, staff are likely to be happy, which in turn will improve staff retention

Breaks increase productivity

Lunch breaks are also known to increase productivity of workers, especially if short breaks are included alongside the main break. As the breaks cost nothing, there is a lot to gain with nothing to lose.

Breaks lead to happier workers

Over 90% of workers who said they take a proper lunch break felt ‘happier and more positive’. Lunch breaks allow people to get things done, fuel-up for the afternoon, and in some cases take in some exercise. Just 20 minutes will allow staff to take a stroll, up their step count and get some fresh air.

How to encourage lunch breaks

Lead by example. If your employees see you working through lunch, they may feel like this is expected of them too.

It’s also important to create a workplace environment that encourages employees to take breaks. Designate a space, such as a kitchen or dining room that employees can go to to leave their desks

Supply healthy snacks to encourage a culture of healthy eating that will engender a healthy attitude to taking breaks.

Provide distractions from phones and screens. If you have room in your designated break space, include light reading materials, like magazines and newspapers, and other forms of entertainment, so workers can relax free from screens in a dedicated environment.

Encourage additional breaks. There are stressful moments in everyone’s jobs, so make it clear to employees that if they need to take an extra break for some fresh air, they can – and that their lunchbreak will be unaffected.



Article from  Oldrids and Downtown


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