There’s been a lot of research about the benefits of breaks. Numerous studies have found that taking regular breaks throughout the working day has a pronounced positive impact on productivity and energy levels.
And while everyone seems to be in agreement in theory, in practice many people aren’t very good at taking breaks. Either they get too focused on work and don’t think about it, or they take sporadic ‘breaks’ by surfing social media for ‘five’ minutes.
[Tweet “Taking regular short breaks can help re-energize, according to Baylor University.”]
So when exactly should your employees be taking breaks and what should they do?
Read on for our actionable tips:
When To Break
Early in the day
The 2015 study by Baylor University found that taking breaks earlier in the day boosts energy, concentration and motivation more than any other time during the day. They also found that the longer people wait before taking a break the worse it was for their health. In other words, taking a mid-morning break is a very good idea.
The same study also found that it was beneficial to take frequent short breaks throughout the day. A range of other studies have also found that regular breaks work well. This study from the University of Illinois, for example, found that people who took more breaks had higher mental stamina after an mentally intensive 50 minute task.
What activities to do
Things they enjoy
The Baylor University study found that the most important part of taking a break is not the activity itself but how it made the worker feel. In short, the more they enjoyed their break, the better it was. Whether it’s drawing or reading a book, encourage your team to do the things they like during their downtime.
According to a study about workplace socializing, workers who interact socially the most each day are also the most productive. Encourage your employees to get to know each other and organize short social break time activities.
Taking a nap or two can have a very positive effect on performance. Research by the University of Michigan found that taking a nap can counter impulsive behaviour and increase tolerance for frustration. Naps can also help make up for a lack of sleep during the night. Set up a sleep zone or pods for your employees.
Exercising during the day can have a huge impact on productivity. Exercising during the day puts you in a positive mood and gets you thinking better. Set up lunchtime runs or exercise sessions for your team.
Tracking their breaks
Of course, none of these types of breaks will be helpful for your employees if they’re not actually taking them.
By using employee monitoring software you can easily tell exactly when your employees are working and breaking.
Over To You
What does your break policy look like, and why is it set up that way?
Let us know in the comments section below!