Forget the turkey, I just want to get out of the office!

Time away from work is more important than what’s on the menu for staff able to enjoy a company Christmas lunch this year, according to a new survey.

The findings are from YouGov research being highlighted by Shelter to coincide with the M&S Food on the Move Christmas range sold in aid of the housing and homelessness charity.

The survey also shows that of those workers in the East of England who are having a staff Christmas lunch this year, time out of their working environment was the thing they were most looking forward to (15 per cent), followed by Christmas food (11%).

Only nine per cent were looking forward to getting to know colleagues, with more than two fifths admitting they never normally have lunch with their co-workers.

Tracy Griffin, director of fundraising at Shelter, says: “This is the time when people should be getting into the Christmas spirit with their colleagues, so it’s a shame to see so many missing out on a staff Christmas lunch this year. The lunch doesn’t have to be a formal occasion; it’s just about getting together with co-workers and celebrating the end of a long year.”

Shelter and M&S have joined forces this Christmas to create shelterelf.org.uk, a new website which helps people to become a Shelter lunch elf and treat a friend or colleague to a festive lunch from the M&S Food on the Move Christmas range.

For every product sold, 5p goes to Shelter’s helpline supporting people in desperate housing need this Christmas.

Tracy said: “We hope Shelter elf will encourage people in the East of England to get back into the Christmas spirit by sharing a bite to eat with a colleague and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

“Not only will you be make someone’s day, you’ll be supporting Shelter to help thousands of families across the country will be facing a Christmas without a home to call their own.”