Employees no longer seek the solace of the canteen during lunch hour.

London - It’s enough to make you choke on your sandwich - employees who do not take a break for lunch are doing an extra 16 days of work a year, research suggests.

And, to make matters worse, academics have warned that it could harm our health.

A poll of 1,000 employees found that 60 percent eat at their desks every day.

Two thirds leave the office for just half an hour or less, despite being entitled to an hour. Those who do make it out are far more likely to leave to meet professional contacts or clients than taking the opportunity to relax.

The researchers calculated that staff who eat in the office are working an extra 128 hours every year - the equivalent of 16 eight-hour days.

Workers polled said they were reluctant to take their full lunch hour because they did not want to risk being made redundant.

Half of those surveyed said it was now so common to work through lunch that they “felt guilty” taking the full hour.

The survey was conducted by the organisers of this week’s Colmore Business District Food Festival, in Birmingham, and Aston University.

Dr Patrick Tissington, Associate Dean of Business Partnerships at Aston, said: “People do feel under pressure at work, many spending long hours at their desks, tapping away at keyboards, staring at screens and sitting with bad posture in awkward positions.” - Daily Mail