We’ve just found out something that’s equal parts surprising, unsurprising and frankly, outrage-inducing. And if you’re a millennial, you wouldn't be surprised with the unveiling.
According to the results of a survey by a company called Tork, millennials are afraid of taking lunch breaks at work. The survey also revealed that the reason millennials refrain from taking lunch breaks is that they are afraid they might be perceived as less productive, hard-working and weak. And that is heartbreaking. The findings suggest that in today's work culture, most of us would rather be seen working to no end instead of taking the time to pay attention to our health. We’re not ready to let a basic necessity like food come between our professional reputation and advancement. No matter how you feel about generational differences between baby boomers and millennials, that’s extremely not OK. People need to eat!
Tork teamed up with KRC Research, a research firm,to conduct the survey between December 4 and 12 in 2017. 1,600 employees across the United States and Canada took part in the survey. The respondents included baby boomers, Gen X, millennial generations. According to a press release, employees were asked questions about employee engagement, productivity, job satisfaction, and lunch breaks.
Data from the survey revealed that millennials are almost three times more likely than baby boomers to feel they are being judged negatively by their co-workers if they take regular lunch breaks. One in four millennials worries that their boss will see them as less hard-working if they take a lunch break, compared to just one in 10 boomers. 62% of millennials also wish they had longer or more regular lunch breaks — a sentiment only 46% of boomers echoed — and, perhaps most notably, 16% of millennials would actually take a 10% pay cut in exchange for being able to take a lunch break every day. That’s reportedly almost twice the percentage of Gen Xers and over three times the percentage of boomers who said the same thing.
Of course, it’s worth noting that despite the size of the respondents, the survey results must be taken with a grain of salt. They’re not the gospel truth. But they’re also a reflection of the toxic work culture we’ve almost accepted to be okay. Is this survey going to change the stigma that this entire generation has been feeling for their entirety of adults life? Probably not.
But it’s up to us to decide. So the next time you’re feeling truly hungry, go take that lunch break. Taking breaks is normal. Taking breaks isn’t a sign of weakness. It is high time our culture stopped viewing it as such.