When most people think about taking breaks at work, scurrying off into a corner and quickly eating lunch is often what comes to mind. Sadly, this doesn't scratch the surface of what a break is capable of providing modern employees.
For breaks at work to be effective, there needs to be a refreshing change of pace that allows your staff to escape their work, even for just a short amount of time. This shouldn't be too much to ask, no matter what their job is. Ultimately, this will motivate staff members to be more productive down the line.
Consider the following, all of which are good reasons for employees to step away from the desk throughout the day.
1. Improved Perspective on What Employees are Doing.
Perspective is everything during a busy workday. It helps your staff make important decisions that can influence the scope and outcome of their work … but it doesn't come easy.
When employees are constantly working against the tide, it's impossible to gain perspective … because they aren't giving themselves the opportunity to see things from the outside.
Encourage them to step away for a short period of time, and they'll gain an entirely new perspective that will lead them to make smarter decisions.
2. Better Blood Circulation.
Health is our greatest wealth, and improving it should always be a top priority. You and your staff may not think you're doing a disservice to your health by sitting at your desk all day, but you might be surprised to find out that you are.
Sitting all day long can have a negative impact on circulation, which is why it's essential to get up and move at least once every hour. This increases blood flow, which improves the functionality of your muscles, and genuinely keeps you from feeling sluggish.
Again, encourage employees to take a break, stand up, and move around a bit.
3. Creativity Boost.
Getting the creative juices flowing is easier said than done, especially on days when nobody in the office is “feeling it.” Even so, many people make the mistake of plugging along … forcing themselves to churn out sub-par work without taking quality into consideration.
If employees are pushing-out boring and mundane results that lack creativity, there's no way they'll gain the respect they deserve. Taking a break from the action allows your staff to recharge their mental batteries, thus improving the chances of coming up with a genius idea when they get back to work.
4. Increased Productivity and Staff Motivation.
Increasing and enhancing productivity and staff motivation is something that every professional should focus on, but many people take the wrong path to get there.
A productive and engaged employee isn't necessarily one who works 80-hour weeks.
Rather, productivity should be measured by the quality of the work. When your staff is taking breaks at work, they'll return with a fresh head, which means they'll get more done.
5. Less Distractions During the Day.
Have you or your employees ever been working on something intently, only to find that five minutes later you're surfing a variety of websites that have nothing to do with work at all?
You are not alone. I find myself doing this all the time.
Workday distractions pop up, left and right, and many are difficult to ignore. Often, this results from needing a break. If you motivate staff members to get up periodically throughout the day, they'll feel less of a pull towards wasting time at the computer.
6. Reduced Eye Strain.
Staring at a computer all day long isn't exactly the healthiest thing in the world. One thing that can truly take its toll on your health is eye strain, which occurs rather frequently for those constantly fixed on computer screens.
Taking just five minutes away from a computer screen is typically all you and your employees need to keep eye strain at bay, and it's crucial to sustaining work for a long period of time.
7. Lower Stress Levels.
Stress is one of the main things that causes burnout and employee turnover. Avoiding stress is extremely difficult when your organization is overwhelmed with work, but getting that work done will be impossible if your staff is feeling an excessive amount of pressure.
Sometimes, the best way to lift stress is to encourage everyone to take a 5-10 minute break every hour. This may seem like a short period of time but it's enough to allow people to clear their heads and get through the workday unscathed.
8. An Opportunity to Seek Advice.
Many employees feel as if they need to handle tasks and make decisions without anyone's help. More often than not, this is counterproductive.
There will inevitably be situations where employees need to consult each other, or the manager, before moving forward with a decision … and taking breaks will give them the opportunity to do so.
If you don't allow them to take a break and engage in water cooler talk, they might end up making poor decisions down the line.
9. A Chance to Refuel.
If you thinks it's okay to go through the workday with no fuel other than a few cups of coffee, it's time to re-evaluate things.
Food is essential to keeping you and your employees' energy and memory in top form, and there are many different routes you can take in terms of nutrition.
If you and your staff aren't taking a break to eat and stuff some healthy food in your mouth, creativity and productivity levels will no doubt suffer. This is just another reason why taking breaks at work is essential to achieving success and motivating staff members.
10. Reduce the “Bore Factor” of Mundane Tasks.
Every now and then, you and your staff will have to some mundane and boring tasks. While often necessary, these tasks can take their toll on an employee's psyche.
This is why it's important to give everyone some time for refreshment as they plug along. Stepping away for a few moments can make or break the ability to get a group of boring tasks finished … and it's a far better route to take than trying to bust through things as fast as possible.
Original article by Tim Eisenhauer: link