At half-past twelve offices empty and descend upon the hundreds, probably thousands, of branches of Pret a Manger, Eat, Starbucks, Marks & Spencer Food and numerous supermarket 'local' or 'metro' shops. Whilst the luckier workers may be able to munch their lunch out in the sunshine (this summer?! pah!) in nearby squares, for the vast majority their dining table is their desk in the office. Sandwiches and crisps are eaten one-handed as office workers lunch whilst typing emails, filling spreadsheets and taking phonecalls. It's not a healthy way to work. Endless studies have shown the benefits one derives from taking 'screen-breaks', and nothing livens up a tedious day more than a quick office gossip session in the kitchen whilst making a cup of tea. Yet in many offices I have worked in down here it almost seems as if not being welded to your swivel-chair for at least 7.5 hours a day defines you as a slacker.
A London-weighted salary should ensure the higher cost of living in the city is catering for, but what about the losses in quality of life? Are the sacrifices we make in a miserable commute and a endless working day worth it to gain those few extra pounds? With our long days, and our fraught travel, how many of the bountiful opportunities and entertainments that we can access in our city do we really get to make the most of? Don't we enjoy ourselves most when we're on holiday outside of the city? Is the daily grind all really worth it?