There seems to be a myth regarding work ethic amongst professionals. Work is often treated as constant – that you as employee or boss should constantly be on the ball, from the minute you clock in, to the minute you clock out.
In fact, this rhetoric is incredibly damaging. If you are working without any breaks, something has gone wrong. How can you expect your brain and body to work at its best when it’s exhausted?
The line we should be pushing is: at work you should be providing your best. Your best won’t be an overworked, exhausted slog. Though you may work more in time, you’ll be producing less in terms of quality.
So whether you are a boss considering providing more breaks, or a self-employed worker looking to improve your work life, look to all the clear benefits of taking breaks at work.
At one point or another, you’ve probably experienced burnout. Working constantly is an easy way to cause it.
Without breaks, employees cannot get relief from the physical or mental strain work causes. Naturally, this will lead to burnout. A survey by Deloitte found that 77% of people have experienced burnout at their current job.
Seventy-seven per cent. Let that sink in.
That’s not just over half of people, it’s over three quarters. These statistics should be enough to scare you into taking breaks at work.
Burnout can only lead to poor work. When your brain isn’t working properly, you will make more mistakes, miss crucial details and be less likely to take initiative.
Plus, once you’ve burned out, the break you’ll need will be for a full-on holiday to Tropicana Avenue in Malaysia.
Surely it’s more beneficial to take small breaks now and then. This way you’ll save money on the masses of time off workers will need if they’re burned out.
Breaks Let You See The Bigger Picture
Especially for those who work in detail, breaks are a great way to zoom out of the work you’ve been focusing on.
By stepping back, you’ll be able to reflect on the work you’ve done, and weigh whether or not you are on track to complete your goals.
Breaks give our minds a chance to rest, and so naturally, new ideas will pop up in these breaks. This way, you’ll go back to your work with a fresh perspective, and with new ideas to work on. Overall, your work will be of a higher quality.
Breaks help you solve problems
When in its relaxed state, your brain can solve its most difficult problems – it’s true!
Think about all the times you’ve come up with a great idea when in the shower. That’s because your relaxed brain is still working behind the scenes.
By implementing breaks into work hours, you give your brain a chance to process all the information you’ve been gathering over the day and compute some of the trickier questions into answers. You can then take these answers and head back to work with a better understanding.
Breaks make you more productive
Regularly scheduled breaks create a routine that encourages your brain to be more productive. Think of it as an exercise plan: by giving yourself breaks in between exercises, you can push harder during the sprints.
Plus, by keeping these breaks regular, you are, in a sense, giving yourself a series of deadlines.
If you know you’ve got a break in five minutes, you’ll try to get to the end of a task before the break comes around. Again, it’s like exercise. When you know you’ve got ten seconds left of a sprint, you try to push yourself that bit more to get a greater distance travelled.
Breaks will change your working life…
Clearly then, breaks have plenty of benefits. When it comes to taking them yourself, or providing them for your employees, make sure they are regular and mandatory. If they are random, it might be hard for the brain to regulate.
Everyone will benefit from breaks, including your business. Think of your workers like equipment. You’ll always make sure your equipment is up to standard. If it isn’t, you repair it.
Your workers need repairing sometimes too. But you can avoid these repairs if you keep them well-maintained throughout the year. For employees, this maintenance can be upheld through the provision of breaks.
Keep your workforce healthy, and you’ll have a healthy business.