Site aims to prove lunch isn't just for wimps

An Internet-based campaign aims to ensure that UK workers take their full entitlement to a lunch hour, saying it benefits employees and businesses alike

It can improve your sex life, stop you becoming an alcoholic and even prevent you dying prematurely. Or at least those are some of the claims made at www.gone2lunch.com, the Web site for a new campaign aimed at ensuring Britons take their statutory 60 minutes in the middle of every working day.

Workers in the UK put in more hours than those in any other EU country, and the lack of a proper lunch break is affecting quality of lives -- and work, according to the gone2lunch campaign.

But while not everyone can leave their place of work for the full hour every day, gone2lunch is coordinating what it hopes will be a 100,000 signature 'virtual lunchtime' petition -- a call for staff to at least be given time to surf the Web, send email and generally loaf around online without being monitored and accused of wasting company time.

Neil Watson, spokesman for gone2lunch, told silicon.com: "The UK is Europe's hardest working nation. We all know about workers in France and Spain taking a good hour for lunch. And we're not only saying this for employees' benefit."

In a typical eight-hour working day, Europeans are officially allowed a 60-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks, though at most places of work the latter rarely get a look in.

Watson added: "The point for employers is that clearing time [for personal use of the Web and a decent lunch] allows staff to focus properly in the other seven hours each day.

"And however employers see this campaign -- to be honest, reaction has been mixed so far -- they at least need to make sure they have a Web usage policy and whether it is legal."

Though gone2lunch has elicited some interest, Watson -- himself employed by an Internet services company that can provide SMEs with tools to manage employee time online -- is looking for employers and other parties such as unions for backing.


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