By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 11:42, 05 November 2019
Research reveals Britain to be a sedentary nation, with 84 percent admitting there are days they don’t leave the office from the minute they get in, to the moment they leave at the end of the working day and 36% of British workers do not see natural light from one day to the next.
In today’s frantic and pressure-filled workplace, connecting with nature isn’t easy BUT spending the entire day stuck in the office often leaves workers feeling trapped (31%) and cooped up like battery farmed chickens (22%). Just over a third (34%) admitting to never taking a lunch break, instead preferring to opt for a quick lunch at their desks, despite 8 in 10 bosses and senior managers taking their lunch hour every single day.
Of those surveyed, more than half (57%) of Civil Servants and Government officials top the poll with never or nearly never taking a full hour lunch break, compared to the national average of 17%, which was closely followed by Healthcare workers (49%).
Professor Charles Spence, Experimental Psychologist at the University of Oxford comments: “City dwellers spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, leading to a range of problems for workers, including everything from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months due to a lack of natural daylight and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), especially in buildings with poor ventilation. The good news is that an hour spent outside is proven to drastically improve short term memory, spark inspiration and decrease stress levels”
Even for those with the urge to get out into nature for lunch, it’s a constant battle to find the time and opportunity to reconnect, the extent being that 3 in 5 don’t often go outside on their lunch break. In fact, 15 percent of workers confess to having worked in an area for years but never explored their surroundings, 13 percent of which don’t even know where their nearest nature spot is.
Professor Charles Spence continues: “The longer your exposure to nature the better, so an hour is a great amount of time to spend outside during your lunch. Hearing and seeing nature is better than just seeing it, and add it to the smell of nature, our health, and well-being improvements are likely to jump even further.”
We can’t all climb a mountain, trek through a forest, or dive into a lake on our lunch break but even a little bit of nature does us a world of good. For some, the ‘great outdoors’ can feel a long way away. A third of those polled admitted they must make more of an effort to get fresh air when at work and over half (52%) of us often don’t see the light of day from the moment they step into the office.
Kat Jones, Marketing Manager for Nature Valley UK said: “More than half of UK professionals 24 and older, do not take the full lunch break they’re entitled to, with the average lunch break lasting just 22 minutes – that’s a third less than it was six years ago. We are encouraging people to get out and about during their lunch break and to stop denying themselves the pleasure of enjoying the great outdoors”.
Nature Valley is urging the British public to encourage their places of work to reclaim the lunchbreak. The snack brand has created a set of tools to kick start a new way of life. Visit www.naturevalley.co.uk/get-out-more to download letters to get employers behind the movement and some fun and fancy Out Of Office templates to use when you’re out of office.