NPR logo

'Lunch Hour' a Misnomer, Survey Says

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4725830/4725831" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Lunch Hour' a Misnomer, Survey Says

Food

'Lunch Hour' a Misnomer, Survey Says

'Lunch Hour' a Misnomer, Survey Says

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4725830/4725831" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A workplace survey shows Americans are not taking a full hour for lunch, and when they do, they're not always eating. A sampling of Washingtonians illustrates the point.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Even if you can get a reservation, most American office workers don't make time for a sit-down lunch. A new study finds these days lunch hour is more likely lunch half-hour, and people aren't necessarily eating. To find out what they are doing, MORNING EDITION headed into downtown Washington, DC, at high noon.

Beth Lieberman puts in three miles on a treadmill at the YWCA, a fact she would like to keep from her boss.

Ms. BETH LIEBERMAN: It's one of those things, don't ask, don't tell. You know? I don't know. I feel guilty. But it works for me, and I think in the long run it works for him.

MONTAGNE: And, of course, we won't be telling. Actually, the Steelcase Workplace Index Survey, which compared its results to one taken nine years ago, found that people now are a little less guilty about taking a full hour for lunch. And when they do go to a restaurant, they probably feel like Jennifer Earle(ph), who is in town for a medical conference.

Ms. JENNIFER EARLE: This is a luxury for us today to be here in Washington doing this.

MONTAGNE: Jennifer Earle and a colleague were waiting for a table at an upscale seafood restaurant. Earle usually grabs a sandwich and a Coke from the vending machine at her office but what really gets her through the day isn't lunch.

Ms. EARLE: It's chocolate. He keeps a candy jar, a huge candy jar, on his desk, full of chocolate candy. So the minute that energy level starts going down, we all run in and have candy.

MONTAGNE: Kevin Friend(ph) is in line at a sandwich shop. He usually eats at his desk, which can get messy. But the mayonnaise dripping from his sandwich has an upside.

Mr. KEVIN FRIEND: Actually, grease is good. It looks good on my deliverables. It makes my partner know that `Hey, I've been working.'

MONTAGNE: Perhaps to make up for all those working lunches, the Steelcase study also found Americans are working less on weekends.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.