By David Schepp
It's no secret that Americans are working longer and harder than ever. Now, a new poll shows more of us are forgoing the lunch hour and opting instead for a quick bite huddled over our keyboards.
A recent survey of workers found that 62 percent of those with desk jobs typically ate lunch at their desks. The most common reason given was to save time and money, according to the 2011 study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods, which focused on food safety.
And all that time adds up. A similar study in Britain found that workers who forgo a standard 60-minute lunch break by eating at their desks will work an extra 128 hours a year, or an additional 16 workdays.
In the U.S. there is no federal law requiring companies to provide lunch breaks, but 22 states have meal-break laws, USA Today notes.
Beyond saving money, Americans are keen on keeping their jobs and being more productive, Cynthia Fukami, a management professor at the University of Denver told the Denver Post.
But, she warns, "It may look like you're getting more done, but eventually workers burn out, so breaks are good."
Of course, lunch breaks aren't the only workplace tradition falling by the wayside. Americans' prized vacations also aren't immune to their desire to keep up on work.
Results from a poll of more than 1,300 adults due out next week show that 52 percent of workers expect to work during their summer vacations, up 6 percentage points from a similar survey taken a year ago.
Regardless of whether they work full- or part-time, or are self employed, respondents to the 2012 poll, conducted by Harris Interactive for virtual-meetings software-maker TeamViewer, said that they expect to perform a variety of tasks while on vacation.
Among the duties that workers anticipated doing while vacationing this summer are:
- Reading work-related emails -- reported by 30 percent of respondents.
- Receiving work-related phone calls -- 23 percent.
- Receiving work-related text messages -- 18 percent.
- Being asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague -- 13 percent.
EARLIER ON HUFF/POST50: Charles Schwab Older Workers & Money Survey 2012
They're Not Ready To Retire
More than one-third of 60-somethings say they don't plan to stop working, versus 25 percent of 50-somethings. In fact, nearly twice as many workers in their 60s as 50s say they just don't want to retire (32 percent vs. 19 percent). Why? It may be flexibility: The study shows that people in their 60s are more likely to be working part-time and enjoying the flexibility of doing so. They are also more likely to enjoy the people they work with and to say they'd feel bored if they weren't working.
They're Still In Their Stride
More than two-thirds of workers ages 50 to 69 consider themselves ahead of the game when it comes to job skills and report being "intellectually stimulated," "still learning" and "working to [their] full potential" at their jobs.
They Love What They Do
More than two-thirds of respondents report that they were "intellectually stimulated" by their jobs, and more than half said they like what they do (interestingly, this percentage was higher among women than men).
They Like The People They Work With
Nearly half of survey respondents reported that they like the people they work with.
They're Mentors To Their Younger Colleagues
Sixty-eight percent reported that they provided advice to their younger colleagues on how to "handle professional issues," "how to navigate around the organization" and "how [they] can do their jobs better."
They're Worried About Money
Half of workers characterize themselves as doing "ok" financially, and an additional 10 percent believe they're doing "well." But 31 percent feel they're "just getting by," and another eight percent say they're "falling behind." A majority express confidence that they'll have enough income to be comfortable in retirement (62 percent), yet their personal finances may not support that; nearly half have less than $100,000 in investable assets. Shedding debt is a top priority among workers in their 50s vs. those their 60s (51% vs. 42%).
They're Concerned About Caregiving
Two-thirds of older workers worry about the prospect of needing to take care of a spouse or other family member; 37 percent believing they'll be faced with care-giving obligations in the next decade. With respect to personal responsibility for care-giving, many more women than men see this looming in their future (42 percent vs. 33 percent).