Healthy living * Mental wellbeing

One in four work without a break

One in four work without a break Staff shortages, heavy workloads to blame

One in four people in the UK regularly work all day without taking a break, new research suggests.

A UK survey of more than 2600 working adults by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists found that over a third of staff often work through lunch breaks, and nearly a quarter miss lunch altogether.

Half of those who work through their breaks said it was because they had too much work to do whilst almost a third said there were too few staff to cover the workload.

And half of those surveyed said they went to work even when they felt stressed or ill.

Not taking sufficient breaks, working in the same position for lengthy periods, lack of exercise and going to work when ill or stressed posed "serious risks" to health, the CSP warned, and could also result in huge costs to employers.

They also added that UK workers are increasing their risk of chronic musculoskeletal disorders (such as on-going back pain), obesity, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes type 2 and stroke through poor working practices.

Phil Gray, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "Physiotherapists are concerned that overworking and not taking breaks is actually costing employers and their staff.

"Employees pay the price with their health and there is a cost to employers in reduced productivity and performance. Work is good for us and can contribute to physical and mental well-being - but not when overworking means people don't have the time or energy to look after their own health or when staff are at work but are not fit for work.

"With advice and support from physiotherapists and other occupational health experts, employers can create healthier work environments and benefit not only society but also their profit margin."

The survey results have been released to mark the start of the CSP's Fit for Work campaign. The organisation has produced a range of free leaflets with ideas and advice for staff in offices and factories on how to improve their health at work and fit exercise into their daily routine.

This article was published on Thu 10 June 2010

Image © konradbak -

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