Two thirds of workers (66%) don’t leave their workplace to eat lunch, whilst the average lunch break is now just 28 minutes long and only 17% of British workers take a full lunch hour, according to research from Mastercard.

The new survey, which was carried out by 2,155 British adults aged 16-75 in August, found that a hardcore 12% of workers never or hardly ever take a lunch break.

Three in five (62%) bring a packed lunch and 36% say they never eat out for lunch during the working week. When asked why they didn’t eat out for lunch more often, two fifths (42%) said they didn’t have the time.

Scott Abrahams, Mastercard said: “New technology means it’s never been easier to get out and have a good meal during your lunch hour – with our Qkr app diners can save 12 minutes by paying the bill on their smartphone. Research shows getting out of the office for lunch is good for health and productivity, so it’s time more of us took a break.”

Margaret Mountford, businesswoman, lawyer and star of The Apprentice is backing Mastercard’s research and urging British businesses to bring back the lunch hour. She said: “Throughout my career I’ve seen employees hunched over their desks wolfing down a sandwich. It makes workers less productive, hampers creativity and numerous studies have shown it’s bad for health, so why do we still do it? Bosses should lead the way by encouraging a culture of lunch breaks – it will boost productivity, creativity and morale as workers feel better and take on the afternoon revitalised. It’s time to stamp out the culture of not taking a lunch hour.”