Business owners and employees typically work at least eight or nine hours a day, and take an hour or less for their lunch break. However, most don’t even step far outside their workspace, eating their lunch in the office break rooms provided or staying hunched over at their desks. According to NPR’s research, only one in five workers actually leaves the office to partake in a break.
Relinquishing proper break time is destructive to both your productivity and your health. Frequent breaks, not including lunch, are the key to getting more done and to feeling better throughout the day.
Why do we continuously deny ourselves (and our minds) the intermission necessary to lead a happy work life?
Let us convince you to take tiny vacations throughout the day with this…
Our list of reasons why breaks are vital for everyone:
BREAKS will help you to…
1. Focus Better
If you notice yourself zoning out midday or that you suddenly need an afternoon coffee, it’s because you’re losing the ability to focus. To combat the lack of focus, you might want to take a quick break instead, which will help you stay in the right zone for longer.
- Divert your attention elsewhere – even for just a few minutes – if you’ve been working on the same task at length.
- Take a walk around the block, a loop around the office, or even take a break from that same, drawn-out task to work on something else. When you go back to your original activity, you’ll be able to complete it with ease.
2. Improve Your Physical Health
Many of us sit all day at work, then go home and plop ourselves back down in front of a television set, another computer, or a loved one. So there’s quite a bit of sitting going on. And our bodies aren’t any better for it.
Sitting all day is extremely unhealthy, and according to the Huffington Post, a lack of physical activity can lead to slower metabolism, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. But we can use this bit of insight in our favor by doing the opposite. Because it’s been found that getting up and moving every 20 minutes can lead to longevity.
Some tiny break suggestions:
- Visit your coworkers and see what they’re up to. Save the emails for far away contacts.
- Step outside for some fresh air. If you need an excuse, just tell your boss the truth. No harm wanting to wake yourself up so you can work well.
- Run out for a coffee or a treat. See if anyone wants to join you and you may be pleasantly surprised by who accepts the invitation.
- Drop off mail. Instead of using a drive-up mailbox on your way to work, why not save that task for when you need a reason to move your legs?
- Fill your beverage containers only half way full. That way you’ll have to get up more often to replenish. That’s an easy one!
These excuses can give you a much-needed mental break, as well as contribute to your physical well-being. No management should deny you that.
3. Increase productivity
Do you want to boost productivity at your office? It may seem counterproductive but taking breaks can actually help with that.
Think of yourself as a portable electronic device that runs on a chargeable battery life. As a battery’s percentage depletes, so does that device’s speed and ability to function properly. But just a few minutes of charging that battery can make all the difference. For awhile, that is.
Since you are your own device, you’ll need to discover what recharges you. That zap of energy almost always comes from…
- stimulation from new sources, and
- the connection with nature.
If you take a break from work to watch a video, that isn’t really doing yourself justice. Because you’re still focusing on something and the key is to let your brain relax a bit.
According to an infographic by OnlineBusinessDegree.org, when workers took regular breaks that were 1.5 minutes long, their productivity increased by 6.45 percent. Additionally, regular breaks that were two minutes long led to an 11.15 percent increase in productivity. That’s a pretty decent reason to take more breaks.
How to Take Your Recess:
1. 52 Minutes of Work + 17-Minute Break
According to The Atlantic and a study from DeskTime, a productivity app, the highest-performing employees work for 52 minutes, and THEN take 17-minute breaks. During this time, they get away from their computers and take walks, chat with coworkers, or do some exercises. The key is to remind yourself when 52 minutes have passed and then get out of your chair. The 17 minute part isn’t set in stone, however. All that matters is that you get some movement in you.
2. Two-minute breaks
If your boss is looking over your shoulder, or you’re in the middle of a big project and can’t afford to take 17 minutes off every 52 minutes, just make sure you get up from your desk for a few minutes periodically. It’s beneficial, no matter what. Even two minutes here and there are crucial, according to the OnlineBusinessDegree.org infographic.
If you stand up and stretch, you will pump oxygen into your brain and feel more alert. If you take 20 seconds to gaze at something that’s 20 feet away, you can relieve any eyestrain you’ve been feeling from all that Reddit skimming.
Surfing the web and checking your Facebook are also helpful distractions every so often. Studies have proven that employees who check their social media on a regular basis are 10 percent more efficient. It makes one wonder how profoundly efficient a Social Media Manager must be…
3. 5 Minutes per 25 & Once an Hour for 15
The Pomodoro Technique is built around the fact that humans’ attention span lasts for 20 minutes. So, if you want to follow it, work for 25 minutes, and then take a five-minute break. Do this four times in a row. Once you hit an hour, take a 15-minute break. During short breaks, you might want to stretch or look at your favorite blog, but during the long ones, you should run away from your screen.
Breaks are crucial to you and your employees’ success. If you incorporate breaks into your company culture, or stress their importance to your boss, you are doing everyone on your team a service.
To business owners, managers, and decision makers everywhere: A business is as healthy as the people that work there. You don’t need an infographic to prove it, just look around you. A company run by bright-eyed and bushy-tailed employees is one that functions properly and looks good. Allowing your staff to take the appropriate amount of breaks will undoubtedly boost work productivity, creativity, and give you a better chance at success in the long run.
And if you’re a worker that can’t seem to find the time to follow any of the above advice, we recommend changing your routine so that you do. According to Fox Chicago News, ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. You don’t want to end up being a statistic of what happens to workaholics.
You can work harder when you don’t push yourself to the limit. Why not start now? Reading this article was definitely work-related so set your timer, get out of your seat, and gather up enough energy to finish the day with ease. You’ll see an increase in work productivity in no time.
Every article we write is meant to give your business relevant advice, pass along interesting information, and make the work day go by a little quicker. Contentverse is a document management software company created to make your life easier – just like this blog post.