Recently, inquiring during a mid day break at work, concerned, i asked a friend “You had lunch?”….Pat came the reply “Yeah, a quickie”…..Setting my mind on a roll, before I could merely think of questioning her, she explained adding, “Lunch hours are just a myth in India…a formality allowed.” Ah, so a Lunch break is what she meant…..
What’s the big deal, I thought…..and as quickly, realised the pattern and regime we are so accustomed to, that, in India, the absurdity of rushing through a lunch break in between work doesn’t even seem absurd! Now having worked with private Indian companies, I do resonate with that to an extent. The Lunch Hour Syndrome, is somewhere lost in India. Leave aside the Labour and Service Laws, it’s just the way we have acclimatised ourselves into doing.
An hour long Lunch break? How does that feel like? Well, if that is so hard to believe, I chanced upon something that Private Sector CEOs would not be too happy about, but may make you think! At the risk of bearing the brunt of our CEO’s bombardment, I list the countries with the longest lunch breaks…………Time to introspect…and take a cue!
A 3 hours lunch break is what Spanish professionals are entitled to…. most companies break between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., then work another three hours before quitting time. But why not the regular 10 am- 1 pm? It’s because that’s when the outdoor weather is the hottest, causing it to take a toll on productivity, whether one works outdoors or in an office. Keeping the tradition held tightly, they are in no mood to let go! Hear Ye, India??
A lunch break…..and a nap? That is a dream far far away for Indians! But for the Greeks, it is a way of life. They get a 3 hours lunch break. Greeks view lunch as the biggest meal of the day, which means it takes a tad more time . Most people head home for lunch and have time enough for a nap around 2 p.m., returning to the workplace at 5 p.m. Just sigh!
Throughout France, all shop owners shut shop for a 2 hours lunch break—whether in bustling Paris or rural Provence—between around 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. This is the universal lunch and afternoon break for school kids and working adults alike. The reason? The French take more than 45 minutes to eat lunch everyday….
By that standards, Indians should be allowed……….Best left unsaid.
Workers in China are entitled to 2 hours lunch break between noon and 2 p.m., starting with a quick lunch followed by a nap. The idea of the power nap is catching on in the country, with Factories allowing workers to indulge in naps of 30 minutes or less….and they are punctual to the T……uhhhh, P.
Brazilian workers know how to make the most of their 2 hours lunch break hours. Known to schedule meetings just prior to the break (sound familiar?) and then take a 2 hours break for lunch afterwards….Intelligent use of the lunch break!
Italians too get a fair deal at lunch. A 90 minutes down time, is what they are allowed, as opposed to USA, UK and Australia.
A survey found that lunch breaks make an employee’s day more enjoyable, which leads to a happier and more productive workplace. Taking breaks, even micro ones, can help to recharge one’s brain, relieve stress, increase energy levels and help with digestion, blood pressure and even sleep.
So, I’ve done my bit…..Now……… time to face the music!