Many employees are used to working indefinitely without taking a break. The excuse for not taking a break is a high workload, a deadline, a long-term sick colleague or an urgent request from that hugely important client.
In order to stay sharp and focused, it is very important to take a break despite all those urgent matters. By the way, the word break may be interpreted in several ways. It can be a 10-minute break, a longer break, but also a break in the form of a (short) vacation. It's all about what you do or don't do during that break. More about the benefits of taking a break later.
Why are breaks not taken consistently or not filled in correctly? This is due in part to:
Not being familiar with the beneficial effects of a break
Corporate cultures in which employees feel guilty toward colleagues and management when they take breaks
According to Forbes magazine, 40% of American workers feel uncomfortable during a break at work.
Taking a break leads to breakthroughs
When you just can't figure it out, when your mind gets stuck on the same problem, it's best to take a break or do something completely different for a while. Trying the same thing over and over again will lead to nothing. For example:
Clear out your inbox or answer a few emails
Read a book or magazine (not digital)
Clear out your desk or office
Take on a simple task
Use a brain training app on your mobile phone
For example, a study of call center employees who took regular breaks found that their enthusiasm and commitment to their work increased. This had a measurable impact on sales figures (and thus the company's bottom line).
So taking a break improves focus and concentration and provides the opportunity for an employee's mental reset. After a break, work can resume with more energy and motivation. Working without taking one or more breaks only leads to mental and physical fatigue. It can even lead to burnout in the long run.
Do less, achieve more
Taking regular breaks gives employees time to recharge and rest themselves. After a break, employees are more motivated and go to work with more energy than before the break.
Determine your own moments
When the employer provides the space for it, you can take a break at your own discretion. According to scientists, breaks work better if you can determine when the break is taken. This leads to better insights and less impasses than when a break is compulsorily prescribed.
Leave the workplace
When you are going to take a break, preferably leave your workplace and certainly do not stay behind your computer screen. When you have the opportunity, go outside into nature or the city park. According to studies, this promotes a positive mood and reduces negative feelings. When time is spent in nature, heart rate and muscle tension are lowered within and minutes. When at least 20 minutes are spent in nature, blood pressure also goes down.
Longer breaks provide additional benefits
Longer breaks provide the opportunity for non-work related tasks to be performed, for example, running errands, planning a dental visit or even exercising. This creates a better work-life balance. It also gives colleagues the opportunity to get to know each other better outside work, for example during a walk together. This, in turn, promotes cooperation and communication.