Despite there being hundreds of scientific studies that discuss this topic and plenty of examples of companies that achieved the balance between efficiency and rest, breaks at work are still associated with laziness, irresponsibility, and disinterest. Therefore, let’s discuss workday breaks.
Being submitted to a large amount of pressure for long periods of time not only generates stress and decreases productivity but also causes physical discomfort due to muscular tension and posture. This manifests itself mainly in back, neck, and cervical pain. As for our fundamental organ for any job, the eye, focusing for a long time at very short distances, is unnatural. This causes the eye to tire faster and strain the vision. Over time, this results in trouble focusing on items in the distance, blurred vision, and other disorders.
The solution? BREAKS
A break is a systematic pause (at a certain hour or after a certain period of time) that aims to stop the current task and immediately move to an activity of rest or relaxation.
There are different techniques. There are fixed breaks (taken at a certain time) or for periods. The first is the most classic and well-known — and even mandatory by law, depending on the industry —widely used in work environments that generate a lot of pressure or stress. A fixed break is less frequent, but the time period is longer, and generally, it is aimed at everyone doing it simultaneously or in groups. The second method is more modern and better (probably). It’s called the Pomodoro method, and it consists of dividing work time into many fixed segments with very short breaks. For example, one break of five minutes every 45 minutes of work and one break of 15 minutes every four breaks. Times can be readjusted, obviously, but that is the basic concept.
At Job Duck, our team members have two 15-minute breaks and an hour lunch break. If you want to be part of our team, apply HERE.
What to do during breaks?
It is essential to change 100% of activity. That is, get up from the chair, walk, stretch … move in some way and stop working. Try to focus on objects at different distances in order to rest your vision. Go to the bathroom and wash your face. Open the window or go out to the patio to breathe outside. Go to the kitchen and drink a coffee or tea or grab something to eat (a healthy snack, preferably). It is important not to overdo the rest time since afterward, it becomes more difficult to refocus.
Taking breaks refreshes the mind and also raises workers’ level of engagement, which, in turn, is highly correlated with productivity. Without much more to explain, since the benefits are a contrast to the problems (improvements in vision, mood, pain, etc.), we are going to list other reasons not that obvious:
- Restores motivation.
- Improves memory.
- Increases creativity.
- Improves focus.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Increases tolerance for frustration.
Don’t underestimate your physical or mental strength. Today your body may resist, but if you are over 25 years old, surely you have already gone through episodes of pressure or stress that have left a bad taste in your mouth. The more you grow professionally, the more responsibilities, pressures, and demands will come. So, be smart and stay ahead of trouble: take your breaks from work!