Every workplace has daily, weekly and quarterly goals they want to meet. It drives everyone to do their best while they’re on the clock and guides the office in the direction of success. Hard work is meant to be rewarded, but not when it comes at the expense of your health.
Everyone’s felt that moment when you run out of steam. You might sit at your computer or in a meeting and not realize you’ve zoned out until fifteen minutes have passed. It leads to guilt that pushes you to work harder when you’d really benefit from a break.
Before you jump back into a busy workday, read about how breaks can actually make your team more efficient. Once everyone gets into the habit of taking breaks, you’ll see your team’s productivity and happiness skyrocket. Say goodbye to missed deadlines and afternoon slumps.
Lunch Breaks Energize
Most people take a regular lunch break, but not everyone uses that time to relax. Whether you have thirty minutes or an hour and a half, resist the urge to work during your break. It’s easy to think that you’ll get more done with that extra time, but not when you’re low on energy.
Pause for a few minutes by closing your laptop or forwarding your phone and enjoy good food for your meal. The act of eating something delicious and taking that first deep breath after the savory ingredients hit your tongue will make an immediate difference in your energy, especially when it’s followed by another half hour of free time.
You’ll Prevent Burnout
No one signs up for a job with the intention to hate it. You want the best experience from wherever you work, whether or not you have a job that’s your passion.
As much as you may enjoy who you work with and what you do, eventually overworking yourself leads to burnout. Burnout typically starts as exhaustion, but then you may experience:
- Loss of sleep
- Impatience or irritability
- Dissatisfaction with your achievements
- Cynical attitude regarding work
A study that looked at nearly 2,000 employees found that people needed breaks the most when they experienced information and data overload, like focusing on a presentation too long. Even if you think you can handle a larger workload than others, space it out with occasional breaks to prevent burnout and enjoy what you do.
Exercise Repairs Brain Neurons
Don’t expect yourself to hit the gym during your lunch break every day but adding a little exercise to your daily routine could give you the effiency you desire. Build ten minutes into your day and take a walk down the hall, around the building or even down the street.
There’s no need to worry about counting your steps or your heart rate. The simple act of moving around for a few minutes is enough to do the job. When you walk, your body produces an essential protein called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It creates new neurons in the brain and maintains them, which you need to form and save information as memories.
A quick walk down the hall may be exactly what you need to remember those last few changes to the slideshow on your desktop before your presentation begins.
Breaks Can Be Productive
Even though you take a break, you don’t have to stop your productivity. Just choose activities that are easier on your stress level. Read that book you were interested in at the library. Make the call to your grandparents that you’ve been to busy for up until now.
What you choose to do on your break is up to you, but stick with things like eating a healthy snack or avoiding your emails to give your brain enough time to recharge before heading back to work.
Introduce Breaks Slowly
In order to find the perfect balance to your daily routine, introduce breaks slowly to your life and those of your team members. Five to ten-minute breaks are a great place to start. Include one every hour to two hours and use it as an opportunity to step away from your desk, breathe deeply or enjoy a nutritious snack.
The more you practice taking breaks, the more natural it will feel to hard workers who aren’t used to putting things on pause until they clock out. With each break, you’ll feel like a stronger version of yourself and be able to accomplish more during your day.