Have you ever questioned whether it’s better to finish your work in little chunks or just steer through it? Every employee tries to perform their best in the workplace. They work tirelessly, agree to take on extra missions, and seldom take a step away from their desk. Being too busy to take a break is a sure-fire sign that you need to slow, and press pause. This “work hard” mindset isn’t effective, it’s rather unhealthy. Employees who believe that they must work 24/7 to achieve a state of appreciation and trust in the workplace are totally mistaken. And unfortunately, employees often inherit this idea through employers’ attitudes.
Binding yourself to a desk, cutting down on your lunch breaks, or shifting, taking your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster. If an employee does not take enough breaks from work, the employee’s productivity, mental well-being, and overall work performance begin to suffer.
Taking a much-needed break is vital if you want to achieve your best: a 2011 University of Illinois study found that the human brain’s attention frames drop after a long period of focusing on a single task, decreasing our ability to focus and hampering performance. “When challenged with long and difficult tasks at work, it is best to take brief breaks. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task,” said lead researcher professor Alejandro Lleras.
There are many benefits of taking small regular breaks but here, we sum up the most gripping reasons to take regular, well-timed breaks during your working day.
1. Creativity boost:
Breaks help you to process and retain information, our brains have two functioning modes: focused mode, and diffused mode. When working in a diffused mode, our brain is calmer and in a ‘daydream’ type state. There are studies supporting that we solve our most difficult problems when we’re in this diffused state – for example, you might have experienced many times that a great idea strikes when you’re daydreaming, or are in the shower? Next time when you have a difficult problem to solve, try letting your brain stroll and find its own answer, instead of forcing yourself to find the answer.
2. Helps to reassess goals:
When you’re focused on the details of a complex task, it’s possible and quite common to lose sight of the larger and more strategic picture. Take a break, step back, and reassess your goals and you will get a better sense of the bigger picture and priorities to make sure that you’re giving your attention to the right tasks and projects. Being able to see this broader view is particularly important for managers, who need to maintain their focus on strategic goals and not be distracted by process-driven tasks that could be delegated to other members of the team. Also, the managers need to be able to guide their team in the right direction in these kinds of situations.
3. Helps you cultivate healthier habits:
When you’re busy and stressed, healthy habits – such as eating nourishing meals, exercising, and getting adequate sleep – can easily drop by from your schedule and lifestyle. Taking a proper and timely managed break gives you time to include these healthy habits into your normal working day.
Taking regular breaks away from your computers can also help to prevent computer vision syndrome, which usually establishes as eye strain and headaches. Medical professionals also recommend looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and looking at something around 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
4.Improved Mental Well Being:
Our minds need time to rest just like our bodies. Taking breaks can help us grow into the habit of taking care of ourselves. Regular pauses during the day support mental health. Breaks would help reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue.
5. Increases productivity:
Introducing a schedule of regular breaks will also give you a series of mini-deadlines to work towards, which can shoot you on to finish a task more quickly.
And all this helps you to retain information, understand the bigger picture, cultivate your creativity, and embrace healthier habits – which will eventually combine to permit you to work more productively and effectively.
6.Boosts Employee engagement at work:
Having a company culture that encourages breaks at work can help improve engagement and job satisfaction. People that take lunch breaks are 7% more likely to say, “I am as effective and efficient as I would like to be.”
Taking breaks during the workday can also reduce stress, improve mental health, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. All these things draw into increased employee engagement and job satisfaction.
How can you help your employees take microbreaks?
By altering a few of your policies, such as notifying your staff members that they can surf the web for 5 minutes hourly for their personal needs or pleasure to take their mind off work-related tasks.
HubSpot recommends instructing your employees to take 6 minutes off every 80-minute work shift.
Sound an alarm every few hours, alerting your workers that they must take a mandatory few-minute break, during which they can eat a snack, talk to a colleague, take a walk around the office, make a personal phone call, etc. Some organizations introduce this as a mandatory hydration break so that people stay hydrated and thus develop a healthy lifestyle.
The studies prove that taking microbreaks benefits both employees and employers.
As essayist Tim Kreider noted in the New York Times in 2012: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets… It is, paradoxically, necessary to get any work done.”