McVitie’s rally Britain to bring back the Tea & Biscuit break

  • April 13, 2023

McVitie’s has launched a national campaign to reinstate the office tea and biscuit break amid research revealing that overworked employees are so busy they don’t even know the names of their work colleagues.

The biscuit brand commissioned research of 4,000 working Brits to understand how the cultural institution of the office tea and biscuit break has crumbled in recent years.

The study revealed that 70% of the nation’s workforce take under 15 minutes of breaks (outside their lunch break) a day and a shocking 40% take under 10 minutes – while nearly half (47%) confess they are so overloaded with meetings and emails that they don’t have room in their day to take the breaks they need.

93% of British workers believe a tea break is an important part of the working day, with over three quarters (76%) feeling their performance at work is impaired if they don’t take enough breaks.  However, 40% of workers believe that their employers do not do enough to encourage them to take breaks, despite the benefits of doing so — including feeling more energised (42%), more productive (41%) and less stressed (38%) afterwards.

The research also highlights that hybrid working along with back-to-back video calls and meetings has taken its toll on work culture. Astoundingly, one third of workers say they don’t even know all the names of colleagues in their immediate office – which is highest amongst 18 – 24 yearr olds (39%). However, three quarters (74%) of working Brits believe taking more tea breaks will allow them to get to know their colleagues better.

Having baked its original biscuit back in 1839, McVitie’s has been part of the nation’s tea breaks for over 180 years – and is therefore rallying to reinstate Britain’s workplace breaks, supporting the 72% of the UK’s 32.8 million employed who would like to see the implementation of a daily 15-minute tea break in their place of work.

On average, men spend 3 minutes and 10 seconds longer on breaks throughout the day than female co-workers – averaging 13 minutes and 54 seconds of breaks per day versus 10 minutes and 44 seconds by women; which is over 13 hours longer a year.

Leading the ‘Bring Back The Biscuit Break’ campaign is Love Actually and Eastenders star Martine McCutcheon, who today urges Brits to reinstate their ‘tea and biccy breaks’ to add a moment of levity to a hard-working day, reduce stress by taking a moment to reset and recharge, and encourage better connections with colleagues, amongst other benefits.

The research also reveals that of workers between 18 – 55 yrs old, Gen Z (18 – 24 yr olds) spend the most time on breaks throughout the day (12 minutes and 22 seconds on average) compared to Gen X (44 – 55 yr olds), who take the least amount of time away from their work, at an average of 11 minutes and 32 seconds.

McVitie’s has recently established a daily 15-minute tea and biscuit break at its headquarters and other office sites. Of those that took part, 72% said they felt re-energised, with 82% stating that taking a short break helped them feel more connected to colleagues.

Of the nation’s professions, on average, salespeople spend the least amount of time taking tea breaks throughout the day (9 minutes and 47 seconds), followed by those in the charity sector (9 minutes and 52 seconds). Those working in law or business management and consulting are the most gossip-hungry of the professions surveyed, with 32% of both confessing that catching up on office tittle-tattle is one of highlights of a tea break.

Across the nation, while those in Belfast set aside the longest time for a break from work, Norwich came out as the least generous to themselves, while 20% of those in the North West say they don’t take as many breaks as they need as their bosses don’t allow it!

Those in Northern Ireland are the most likely to say catching up on office gossip is one of their favourite things about a break (31%). They are also most likely to know the names of all their colleagues (83%), followed by the North West (76%) and Wales (72%) – with those in London least likely to know their colleagues’ names (52%).

With two thirds (66%) of the British workforce regularly enjoying a biscuit with their tea break, McVitie’s has today unveiled a souped-up prototype of the classic tea trolley which could go into mass production. The jolly trolley comes with a PA system and a countdown clock to ensure breaks never get missed again, as well as being stocked with a selection of Chocolate Digestives, Jaffa Cakes, HobNobs and more to ensure everyone’s dunking preferences are met.

Time for a biscuit break, Britain! The trolley will embark on a tour of the UK, with workers able to win a visit to their office next month accompanied by the on-screen tea queen herself, Martine McCutcheon. For more information on the campaign and competition, visit

It is so important we find the time to take breaks during the working day. Just a short 15-minute break can improve wellbeing and connections with colleagues, which we witnessed among the McVitie’s workers who recently took part in trialling a daily tea and biscuit break. With modern life now being more demanding than ever, and placing our breaks under threat, who better than the original biscuit makers that have been the perfect partner to our tea breaks for over 180 years to come to their rescue, rally the whole nation and remind us all it’s time for a biscuit break, Britain!
Aslı Özen Turhan
Chief Marketing Officer at McVitie’s UK & Ireland
As someone who loves her tea and biscuit breaks, I’m so excited to help McVitie’s with their mission of reinstating this treasured tradition for the hard-working people of Britain. I’ve had my fair share of long workdays throughout my career and know how important it is to make sure you take the time for a break. Whether you fancy a cuppa and a biccy for some time to yourself or a quick catch up with colleagues – these moments can turn around a stressful day. So, let’s bring back the biscuit break!
Martine McCutcheon

McVitie’s is also a partner of mental health charity Mind and support its work in improving the nation’s mental wellbeing and connecting with others when they need it most.

“We’ve been proud to work with McVitie’s since 2019 to help people better understand the importance of looking after their mental wellbeing, and the benefits of talking to others when they need it most. We know it’s important to take short breaks throughout the day when we’re working but we also know that in reality, it can sometimes be hard to make space for this in our busy lives. Even taking just a few minutes away from our working space can help our mental health. That’s why McVitie’s campaign to reinstate a daily 15-minute biscuit break is a great initiative. It could help encourage us to take more time to reset and recharge, or provide an opportunity to talk to and connect with other people, including our colleagues.
Charlotte Porter
Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind

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