Take Quality Breaks and Encourage Your Employees to Do the Same

Give yourself a break—literally! Spending too much time continuously working negatively impacts productivity, efficiency, and focus. By taking quality breaks throughout the day, you and your employees can reap the benefits of lower stress levels, recentered focus, and reduced symptoms of burnout.  

Not all breaks are created equal, so focus on quality. Engage in mentally stimulating activities that differ from your work, or opt to spend the time relaxing away from your desk. Breaks should feel restorative, so find the length, frequency, and activity that work best for you. At less than 10 minutes, microbreaks are an efficient option, offering just enough time to reset. Keep track of time by scheduling breaks in your calendar or by setting a timer when you begin a task, so you know when to step away. As beneficial as short breaks can be, they don’t replace the traditional lunch hour, so plan time for both to maintain performance levels throughout the day. When it’s time to take a break, make the most of it with these 10 ideas: 

  1. Go for a walk  
  1. Read a book or listen to an audio book 
  1. Listen to music 
  1. Get moving with simple exercises  
  1. Chat with a coworker or text a friend  
  1. Enjoy a healthy snack or refresh your beverage  
  1. Watch a funny video but be aware of the cognitive cost of using your cell phone  
  1. Practice meditation or breathing techniques  
  1. Work on a word puzzle 
  1. Unleash your creativity by doodling, coloring, or daydreaming  

As a leader, encourage your employees to take breaks to benefit their work performance and overall well-being. Allow them to step away as needed and show support by respecting their time away from their desks. Reasonable break times and frequency will vary by role, so communicate your support for taking breaks, offer flexibility whenever possible, and create systems to provide coverage during breaks. 

What is your favorite way to take a break at work? How do you get your team engaged in taking regular breaks? Tell us in the comment section below! 

1 comment
  1. Thank you for this. So important and not enough people doing it. Take 10 everybody 🙂 Some great suggestions too, thanks for the reminder.

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