The Importance of Taking a Break at Work

The Importance of Taking a Break at Work

There's a lot of pressure to be present at work these days. Whether you have solid blocks of meetings in your diary or are faced with a constant stream of emails, presenteeism is one of the big pressures in today's workplace. Taking a break is vital to refresh yourself and recharge your batteries. Here's why you need to take five minutes or more out of your daily work schedule.

Refresh yourself with a break

Recent reports indicate that the lunch break is becoming shorter and shorter. As many as one in five employees do not take proper lunch breaks away from their desks. While there might be work to do, there is evidence to suggest that not taking a break reduces your ability to be work creatively. Even when there is a focused piece of work that needs your attention, it's vital to step away, enjoy a refreshing lunch and walk around the block. Go check out a local park or nearby library during your lunch break — you'll likely find you can concentrate more effectively afterward. If you work on a computer, you should take some time away from the screen regularly to avoid headaches and visual problems. Prolonged use of a computer can lead to musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, so step away from the screen and take five. Air conditioning in offices is dehydrating, so make sure you keep hydrated with water throughout the day, which will reduce the risk of health problems.

Use your holiday time

We only have a finite amount of time on earth, and most of that will be spent working. Reports show that few American workers take their full vacation entitlement. A staggering 429 million paid vacation days are left unused every year in the U.S. Workers need days off to refocus and spend quality time with their family and friends. If you are a manager, start by taking your leave entitlement and encourage your employees to do likewise. Studies show that not taking vacation is bad for your health as well as productivity. By not taking days off, there are significant events you may miss, like a child's performance in a school play, a reunion of friends or a family gathering. Is clearing your inbox really that important? Or would you rather be spending quality time with your family? Check out some vacation websites and start planning some time away from the office. You deserve it.

Time to relax

We're all so connected now, through emails, cell phones, and other digital devices. But around 80 percent of Americans still work beyond their normal working day, which can add up to an additional day every week. That's time you could be at the gym, relaxing with your loved ones or reading a good book. Even when you have left the office, do you still check your smartphone for emails and messages? Thousands of people do. And if you are the boss and sending emails after hours, you could be perpetuating the problem because employees will feel duty-bound to respond. That can negatively impact the culture of your organization. Some countries, such as France, have banned work emails being sent after 6 pm to help their employees relax and enjoy life.

Time is a valuable resource and the hours we have outside the workplace are finite. Make sure you spend you're doing things that fulfill you.



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