Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Return of the (Long) Lunch Break

In times where employers cut pay by omitting bonuses, it seems that employees are getting even by cutting down on work hours and reviving a long lost treasure: The Lunch Break.

It does not take the skill of clairvoyance to figure out that come the end of this year, your annual discretionary payment will be - at the discretion of your employer - a lot smaller than it used to be.

While a lot of people came through last year's bonus season relatively unscathed, that is unlikely to happen this year where the number of banks doing well does not exceed the counting skills of a 4-year old.

And with this unfortunate outcome seemingly unavoidable, employees have drawn their own conclusions and seem to be acting accordingly.

Three years ago there was hardly a night when the trading floor was not well-manned at 9pm. It now seems difficult to find anyone around come 7pm.

Furthermore, people seem to have rediscovered socialising at lunch in order to brighten up the gloomy day-to-day proceedings.

Around St Paul's, a number of restaurants have opened in the last few weeks, and - as if the working population had only been waiting for more lunch joints - the likes of D Sum 2 and Le Pain Quotidien have been crowded from day one.

Bumping into a friend at LPQ, his only comment was: "If you look at how crowded this place is, you could wonder exactly where that recession is."

Right now, bankers sans bonus are not committed enough to spend their lunch breaks with a soggy sandwich, surfing the web at their desks. Nor are they too stretched to not be able to afford a sit-down lunch several times a week. We are after all, still speaking about suffering on a fairly high level.
Originally published on HereIsTheCity Life on 08-Sep-08. The original can be found here.