Mental health at work: A good lunchbreak goes a long way

Good-quality breaks at work, where team members can enjoy a healthy meal, are not a luxury but a necessity for employees and employers. They contribute to improved mental and physical health, increased productivity and a positive work environment. Which is why we at Eurest believe more employers should recognise the importance of breaks and encourage employees to take them. It provides essential support for teams – and happy, supported teams are good for business.

Brewing change, one coffee at a time

Since 2021, Eurest has collaborated with Mental Health UK to prioritise mental wellbeing at work. A core part of the initiative involves Eurest’s promise to donate 5p from every cup of ‘Coffee by Eurest’ sold. The outcome? An impressive annual contribution of around £20,000 for Mental Health UK. It’s a poignant reminder that even the smallest contributions, accumulated over time, can wield substantial influence in supporting critical causes.

Practicing what we preach

Yet the significance of this partnership goes way beyond financial assistance. At Eurest, we’ve taken proactive steps to boost our own mental-health policies. For example, we’ve created networks of Mental Health Ambassadors to ensure wellbeing is embedded at every level of our own organisations. We’ve also sought to act as a catalyst for change in workplace culture by fostering environments where open conversations about mental health are encouraged.

Over the past few years, the impact of Eurest’s support has directly touched the lives of individuals grappling with all kinds of challenges, spanning employment difficulties, financial anxieties and mental illnesses. It’s a testament to the far-reaching effects that a committed partnership can bring, ushering in positive change and extending invaluable aid to those most in need.

The importance of regular breaks

One effective strategy for organisations is promoting regular breaks, which serve as a powerful stress-reduction tool, fostering higher levels of staff engagement in the process.

According to research by our parent company Compass Group UK & Ireland and marketing specialist Mintel, taking a lunch break was found to boost productivity for 73% of UK workers. Some 82% noted that regular workday breaks enhanced their overall productivity, with seven in 10 employees using these intervals for eating and drinking. Despite this, only 24% of UK employers currently provide an on-site staff restaurant, and over a third (37%) don’t have a suitable breakout area to relax and recharge in their workplace.

Food for mood

The connection between our mental wellbeing and our digestive system is increasingly recognised, and the impact of our dietary choices on our mood is significant. Eating habits can have a profound effect on work-related feelings, concentration and overall job satisfaction. Even mild dehydration can disrupt mood, energy level and focus. In the workplace, there’s a unique opportunity to promote healthy eating and use meal breaks as moments for colleagues to make wholesome choices and connect with one another.

A dash of comfort

Lunchtime in particular offers a chance for coworkers to relax, socialise and discuss non-work matters, serving as an ideal opportunity to check in on each other’s wellbeing.

Thankfully, we’re starting to see greater investment in comfortable breakout areas which reflect the diverse needs of workers, while providing food experiences and opportunities for social interaction.

Further reading