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622: Lunch Break

Do you take a lunch break?


Full episode script

Food and mealtimes are nearly always very indicative of cultural attitudes and norms, and in some ways that is no truer than when examining habits and expectations around lunch and lunch breaks.

 

There is, of course, lots of research on this topic — about how individuals who take lunch breaks tend to be more productive, more focused, feel more valued by their employer and more engaged with their workplaces. Lunch breaks also increase workplace safety, especially in high-danger environments.

 

You can find plenty of photos and stories of lunchtime around the world online, but this article from Saveur magazine highlights some of the major differences. Quote:

The average break in America is less than 30 minutes, with women taking significantly shorter breaks and eating at their desk more often.

 

In food-loving France, the lunch break can last around two hours. […]. Lunch, which often consists of a three course meal, is usually enjoyed with a glass of wine as well. For a while this tradition has been falling to the wayside, but most French workers are still given around an hour break midday, even if some are now choosing to spend it eating a sandwich in the park.

 

Workers in Greece have also been known to take a long time enjoying their lunch. The midday meal is known as the most important meal of the day, so Grecians really take their time with it. Starting around 2 p.m., people will often leave their workplace to go home and enjoy a big lunch complete with glasses of ouzo before taking an hour-long nap and then returning to work around 5.

 

In Sweden, a new lunch break tradition is emerging. The “Lunch Beat Manifesto” is a list of guidelines written by an organization that is pushing for a new way of breaking mid-day. The rules are simple: you must dance, you cannot talk about work, and you are to be offered a free take-away meal. These “Lunch Beats” include a DJ spinning beats for an hour which, they believe “make it possible to fully embody the buzzwords of playfulness, participation & community.”

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.