Taking breaks during the workday has been proven to reduce stress and support high performance from start to finish. However, the simple act of taking small rests throughout the day is often overlooked and undervalued. While information from Psychology Today provides evidence that taking a break has a direct correlation to increased productivity, a study by OnePoll on behalf of Freshly reports that 29% of people working from home do not take any mental breaks during the day and 6 in 10 workers feel guilty taking any breaks at all. Intervals of rest are not only imperative for workplace productivity, but also for your workers' mental and physical health. We've compiled seven reasons to encourage taking breaks during the workday for your workers and for yourself.
1) Reduces Stress
According to a study by The American Institute of Stress in 2019, 94% of American workers reported experiencing stress at work. This emphasizes the need for workers to take mental breaks throughout the day to return mental and physical functional systems to their standard. A slight recess has also been found to positively affect workers' moods, supporting positive well-being and decreased levels of anxiety.
2) Boosts Energy
With all of their mental facilities dedicated to a specific task, many workers feel drained during the workday. However, small breaks, including lunch, have been linked to increased energy levels as your mind is given time to rest and recover.
3) Improves memory
It can be difficult to concentrate and pay attention for long periods of time, and trying to demand this of workers or do this too diligently can actually impair memory. It has been found that it is more beneficial to utilize breaks as time allotted for your brain to process and retain information, which also helps information be more easily recalled moving forward.
4) Improves health
Intervals of relaxation also have a considerable influence on your overall well-being, because they are a necessity to recover from stress which affects your performance, mood, energy and more. These breaks are even crucial to avoid substantial effects outside of the workplace including the development of sleep disorders or cardiovascular disease. Mental and physical health should always be a top priority, making it essential to listen to your workers and always allow recovery time when needed.
5) Prevents "Decision Fatigue"
Decision fatigue refers to the decreasing ability of someone to make decisions after a long session of decision-making, which is especially prevalent during the workday. Taking rest breaks throughout the day is a great way to recharge your mental facilities before continuing to make more choices.
6) Boosts performance and creativity
Long periods of time dedicated to solving a specific problem often leads to idea droughts and mental exhaustion. Taking a step back from these moments can bring mental clarity and offer a chance for your imagination to flourish. A Stanford University study even established that taking walks led to more creative thinking, and those who took breaks often were also more likely to have creative epiphanies.
7) Restores motivation
Small periods of rest during the day have also been linked to increased motivation, especially when it comes to long-term goals. These small steps toward taking better care of yourself or your workers throughout the work day culminate in increased productivity and decreased levels of burnout, which in turn encourages and invigorates workers to do their job well.
The benefits of taking breaks during the day are plentiful and far-reaching, but it is paramount to examine your personal work style and understand what kind of breaks will work best for you. Utilizing and encouraging efficient breaks throughout the work day is a substantial way to improve mood, boost productivity and reduce stress in the long-run.