Already accused of killing everything from churches to golf to mayonnaise, millennials may now have lunch breaks in their sights – but they would be the first to say it’s not their fault.
A new survey from commercial napkin-maker Tork found that millennials value lunch breaks more highly than older generations, but are also more likely to equate taking lunch breaks with laziness.
The survey found that approximately one-quarter of millennials worry that taking a lunch break will lead their employer to think they’re not a hard worker, as compared to less than 10 per cent of baby boomers.
Additionally, millennials were nearly three times as likely as baby boomers to believe their coworkers would judge them negatively if they took regular lunch breaks.
Those fears appear to be grounded in reality, as 31 per cent of millennial managers said employees who takes regular lunch breaks are less hard-working. Only half as many managers from Generation X agreed with that sentiment.
Millennials were also the generation most likely to say they look forward to their lunch breaks and wish they could have longer or more regular breaks.
“Today’s employees – especially millennials – often find it difficult to take a lunch break due to workplace demands and even a perceived stigma around leaving the office for lunch,” Don Lewis of Essity, the company that owns Tork, said in a statement.
“That’s not good for business if you’re working in an office, and it’s especially bad if you’re working in a restaurant.”
Despite the perception that skipping lunch breaks increases productivity, research on the subject has generally shown the opposite.
A 2012 study found that taking regular breaks can improve a person’s ability to retain information, and another paper published the same year concluded that taking one’s mind off a task for a period of time can facilitate problem-solving.