Half of secretarial professionals eat lunch at their desks

Female secretary eating lunch at her desk

If you’re struggling to get out of the office for lunch then you’re not alone. Time pressures on secretarial and business support staff have increased, with tight deadlines alongside an already heavy workload resulting in many professionals sacrificing part, and often their entire lunch break. 

Research from the Robert Walters Career Lifestyle Survey has revealed that almost half of secretarial and support professionals do not leave their desk for lunch. 

It was also found that 22% ate away from their desk but remained in the office with 13% not taking any lunch break whatsoever in order to keep up with their workload.

“Increasing pressures on secretarial and support professionals are leaving many without the time in the day to take a proper break for lunch,” said Gill Owen, Manager for Secretarial and Support recruitment at Robert Walters. 

“While projects or busy periods will take place in any job, if it becomes the norm it can have a negative impact on both the employee and the employer."

Working long hours

Not only will a workplace culture of long hours leave staff struggling to maintain a work life balance, it may also lead to them leaving the job.

The highest motivations for secretarial and support professionals to leave a job include lengthy working hours, lack of career progression and disappointing salary reviews.

“Employers need to remain aware of the impact such factors can have on staff productivity and morale taking steps to ensure that staff take adequate breaks during the day to rest and relax." 

“Employers need to remain aware of the impact such factors can have on staff productivity and morale taking steps to ensure that staff take adequate breaks during the day to rest and relax," noted Gill Owen, Manager for Secretarial and Support recruitment at Robert Walters.

“Secretarial and support professionals are suffering from burnout and becoming less effective in their role.”

Work life balance

Work life balance is a growing priority for many professionals and secretarial and support staff are no exception. 

“Employers looking to attract and retain top calibre professionals in this field need to consider what steps they are taking to address workplace culture and the issue of long working hours,” added Gill Owen.

“While secretarial and support professionals have other priorities which must be considered, firms which can offer a good work life balance in addition to competitive pay and career progression can give themselves a significant edge over competitors.” 

As the scope of secretarial roles continues to increase, employers must ensure that they are conscious not to allow work-life balance to suffer. Doing so will help them to attract and retain the best professionals by developing a reputation for being an employer who values work-life balance.

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