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Do you feel empowered to take a lunch break? 37% of millennial workers say ‘no’

Millennial at desk eating
Photo: vgajic/iStockphoto

Philadelphia — Millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to think that co-workers would negatively judge them for taking a lunch break, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Tork, a napkin manufacturer for the food service industry.

Researchers surveyed 1,600 employees about their lunchtime habits, engagement at work, productivity and job satisfaction. They found that 37% of millennials (workers ages 18-35) said they don’t feel empowered to take a lunch break. Among millennial bosses who were surveyed, 31% said employees who took a regular lunch break don’t work as hard as other employees. Only 15% of Generation X bosses agreed.

Yet millennials, according to the survey results released June 4, were the generation with the greatest desire to enjoy a lunch break: 62% said they would opt for a longer lunch break, if possible. Only 46% of baby boomers said the same. When asked if they looked forward to taking a lunch break, 44% of millennials strongly agreed – 16% said they would take a pay cut if it meant they could take a lunch break every day – along with 36% of Generation X workers.

Although taking a lunch break is associated with a stigma for millennials, 90% said the time helps them feel refreshed and ready to return to work.


“We understand that 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, president of professional hygiene at Essity, which owns the Tork brand, said in a June 4 press release. “That’s not good for business if you’re working in an office.”

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