Breaks – Good for You & for Business

Multi-taskers get stuff done.

Keep your nose to the grindstone.

No rest for the wicked.

Seriously, it’s 2018 and we all know that all work and no play made Jack a very dull boy.

Boost your energy, your mental capacity and even your metabolism with some stress-relieving breaks throughout the day.

Numerous psychology and business leaders see great results when employees take time to walk away from their work.

“A workday without breaks drains our mental capacity and lowers productivity; while taking breaks throughout the day is extremely beneficial, both physically and mentally,” says Doug Fleisner, sales executive at JRG Advisors.

Breaks Improve Productivity and Morale

Walking away from my computer is sometimes the exact step I need to gain perspective and gather my thoughts. I come back renewed and with a fresh set of eyes on a project.

My years working in the food service industry and in retail reinforced the boost breaks have in morale. Sometimes a 10- minute break joking with colleagues and letting off some steam or a social lunch in the break room can turn a tiring day into a productive one.

So, why do so many American workers skip out on this essential benefit?

In a recent Tork survey, nearly 20% of North American workers feel their bosses believe they aren’t working hard if they take regular lunch breaks. About 13% feel they are being judged by coworkers for taking breaks as well.

It’s time to stop eating at your desk or working until you’re so hunched over you literally creak when you sit up. Walk, or run if you must, outside or to the nearest break room and let yourself return refreshed.

Sitting is the New Smoking

According to Dr. William Shrank, Chief Medical Officer with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health Plan, sitting for more than three hours without a break is harmful to your overall health.

While it doesn’t cause the drastic health issues of smoking, sedentary lifestyles lead to increases in the risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and back/neck pain.

A quick walk away from your desk helps gather your thoughts, increase circulation, release dopamine and stretch the muscles. Plus, you can use breaks as an opportunity to be social in the office, check personal messages or calls and even grab a healthy snack.

Benefits of regularly taking breaks include better posture, increased calorie burn and metabolism, and improved alertness.

Treat your work area like you would have if it were in the sixties, seventies or eighties. Take the stairs, walk over to a colleague’s desk, offer to water office plants or tidy the break room. Find reasons to get up and get moving.

Encourage a Healthy Work Environment

Satisfied and energized employees are the best tools of any organization.

Encouraging employees to reduce stress and improve productivity through breaks can be challenging when there are goals to meet and customers to engage. However, leading by example is the best way managers can highlight the importance of taking breaks.

Managers may consider scheduling a monthly lunch for employees to socialize and dine. Create relaxing spaces with plants, natural light and seating where employees can take a break. Stock the break room with healthy options and plenty of seating to help them unwind and regroup.

Should managers find themselves looking for an employee who is on a break, relax. The step away could be bringing your organization more benefits than you think!


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