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Why Employees Need Breaks


Work breaks can boost employees productivity when they promote disengagement and increase positive emotions. Research shows that breaks can enhance employees decision-making, re-energize them, and boost productivity and creativity. Other benefits of workplace breaks include increased job satisfaction, decreased stress, and better mental health.

Taking breaks throughout your workday also decreases stress, boosts mental health, and supports healthy work-life balance. Over the years, studies have shown that employees who take scheduled breaks for recreation and meals generally perform 30% better than those who do not. Employees working at facilities that implement perfect policies for rest and meal breaks tend to suffer from fewer health conditions associated with longer hours.

A Staples study of office workers and managers found that while 66% of employees spent over eight hours per day on the job, over one-quarter did not get any breaks except for lunch. In 2014, Staples research found that over 85 percent of employees believed taking regular breaks throughout the day will increase productivity. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks during the day, including lunch breaks, is a simple way for employers to improve employees health alongside their job performance.

While taking shorter breaks during the workday might not have the same apparent effect as taking time off, studies have found substantial benefits. Whether you take breathing exercises, go for a walk, read a book chapter, or even have a massage while working, anything that decreases stress in your office will enhance your break during the day. Thinking about work does not reduce stress, and employees are not going to completely recharge themselves or make the most of their breaks.

Taking time off work increases attention span when employees return to work, which increases productivity. Employees should do things while on breaks that create positive feelings, as those emotions are motivating and may enhance creativity and increase productivity. When the employee is too busy to take breaks, even simply shifting attention to another task still keeps attention on the brain and increases concentration over a longer period (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2011).

Taking breaks before becoming tired helps to enhance memory and attention, thus, allows employees to remember more about what they learned. Especially when working on a long-term project, it is essential that these breaks are taken, because breaks enable you to maintain a higher level of motivation over longer periods. Working without breaks for extended periods of time can severely deplete your energy and motivation.

Studies have found that breaks reduce or prevent stress, aid in maintaining productivity during the day, and decrease the need for long-term recovery at the end of the day ; . In fact, according to a recent Tork poll, almost 90% of North American employees say taking a break at lunch helps them feel refreshed and ready to return to work. North American employees who took daily lunch breaks scored better across a number of measures of satisfaction with their work, including likelihood of continuing at the same company, and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.

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