In the heady days of summer, there’s nothing finer at lunchtime than to slip down to the local to enjoy a jar or two of the finest ale and a packet of crisps in the sun before popping back to work. Or you could enjoy the serenity of the local park with the latest John Grisham and spend an hour or so on a bench munching a freshly bought baguette.
You could even feed the pigeons.
Absolute rubbish! Who has time for that these days? Here in the UK, we work longer hours than anywhere else in Europe. Arriving earlier and leaving later than your contracted hours is now de rigeur, and there isn’t time to disappear out of the office for an hour at lunchtime, even though you’re entitled to it.
And so the trend of dining al desko has arisen. Chained to our PCs and desperate to get that report out on time, we bring in our packed lunches, just like at school, or we dash out for five minutes to grab something from the local shop. We then stare slavishly at the screen, typing with one hand while unconsciously shovelling bland pre-packed sandwiches down our throats with the other. Lunchtime over – barely 10 minutes after it had begun – we return to work. Meanwhile the sun remains a distant memory, and the pigeons go hungry.
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Mark McMullen joins the private client services team from Smith & Williamson
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