DC tops the list of office workers skipping lunch

A lunch break is a midday reset during the workweek, but more working Americans are skipping the reset.

According to a survey conducted by Boston-based corporate caterer EZCater, today’s workers are 40% more likely to say they never stop for a midday meal than they were a year ago.

It surveyed workers at companies in 10 major cities, and D.C. tops the list for workers skipping a lunch break. According to its survey, which included 4,800 office workers across cities in the survey, 59% of D.C. workers skip lunch at least once a week, compared to 48% nationally. New York City workers ranked second highest for lunch skippers at 57%.

Despite a rise in workers skipping the lunch break, EZCater said the number of people who say they are happier, less stressed and less burned out when they take a lunch break has increased from a similar survey last year.

About a quarter of those surveyed said the reasons for skipping the break are wanting to finish their work as soon as possible, fearing they won’t have enough time to get their work done and having too many meetings to take a break.

Gen-Z workers were twice as likely to say they’re worried that their bosses would judge them for taking a lunch break.

This is not to say we’re not eating lunch. According to the national survey, 37% eat at their desk while they work, and 24% eat during meetings with co-workers.

For those who regularly put a lunch break on their calendar and actually take it, more than a third take 30 minutes of less.

There is also the “brown bag it” or buy it question when it comes to workday lunch. Millennials were most likely to say they pay for lunch at least twice a week and were willing to spend the most, with a third of millennials saying they spend $16 or more for their workday lunch.

In the new era of video calls replacing many face-to-face meetings, EZCarter also asked employees how they felt about eating while on a Zoom call, and 83% said eating on an external video call is bad etiquette. D.C. workers in the survey were most likely to say they do it anyway.

Check out EZCater’s full lunch break survey results online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up