Employees strive to do their best in the workplace. They believe that taking on extra projects, working overtime, and rarely stepping away from their workstation is what it takes to achieve high levels of productivity. But in reality, this type of work mentality is ineffective and unhealthy. Employees who don't take enough breaks can suffer from poor mental well-being and decreased work performance.
According to a survey by Tork, a significant number of North American employees don't take breaks. Among the respondents, 38% don't think it's important to take breaks, while another 13% are afraid that their colleagues will judge them if they do.
Last but not least, around 20% worry that their bosses will think they don't work hard enough. This concern is valid since it turns out that 22% of North American employers think that workers who take regular breaks are less productive.
Why do employees need to take proper breaks?
Tork’s survey shows that 90% of North American workers feel refreshed and become eager to get back to work after their lunch break. Other benefits of taking regular breaks include:
Taking regular breaks helps refresh the mind and ease the stress employees experience when chasing deadlines and handling heavy workloads. Stepping away from their desks for a few minutes helps workers gain a fresh perspective on challenging tasks and maintain productivity.
Improved mental well-being
Many employees suffer from work-related stress, which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health. Enjoying a healthy lunch or taking a quick walk can help release stress and improve a worker's ability to perform their tasks.
Better health habits
Taking regular breaks allows employees to practice positive habits, such as meditating, exercising, and other self-care activities, which can help prevent burnout as well as promote a healthier lifestyle.
How long and how often should employees take breaks?
Legally, employees are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Longer shifts, however, will require additional breaks. MIT Sloan School of Management senior lecturer Robert Pozen suggests that employees should take a 15-minute break every 75–90 minutes. Pozen says that taking frequent working breaks allows the brain to properly understand and retain recently processed information.
How can companies help staff make the most out of breaks?
In a normal workplace setting, employees often rush to vending machines or quickly eat their meal in their cubicles once break time begins. They consume as much sugar and caffeine as possible to boost their energy before their break ends. However, this will only provide them with a brief energy spike that's immediately followed by a sugar crash that can have negative effects on their productivity.
To help workers maximize break times, employers should consider the following ideas:
Set up a meditation room
Too much work-related stress can lead to anxiety, depression, burnout, obesity, high blood pressure, immune deficiency disorders, and more. In addition, overstressed workers often engage in unhealthy behaviors like alcohol abuse and smoking, all of which can lead to serious health problems.
Setting up a meditation room where employees can spend a few minutes clearing their thoughts can have a profound effect on their productivity. Meditating helps reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol, allowing employees to relax and recharge. This helps increase blood flow to the brain, improving focus, memory, and planning capacity.
Promote healthy eating
An unhealthy diet of fatty and sugary foods can cause low morale, stress, and frequent absenteeism among your employees. Encouraging healthy eating habits is a good way of preventing this. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Organize a healthy eating campaign
- Replace the junk food in vending machines with healthier options
- Inform your employees about the benefits of a healthy diet
Conduct afternoon exercise breaks
Sitting in front of a computer the whole day can cause fatigue, which can affect an employee's performance. Conducting afternoon exercise sessions offers several physical and mental benefits that can help improve workplace productivity.
Aside from maximizing breaks, keeping your systems in optimal condition is another way of improving workplace productivity. Here at Complete Document Solutions, we provide a full range of IT services and office technology that will help your workers complete their tasks easily. Call us now to learn more.