185 Give Me A Break!

Based on research by Emily M. Hunter & C. Wu., written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS

How can we take effective workday breaks?

Psychology and business collaborators asked, “How can individuals benefit the most from taking a break”? Researchers surveyed 95 white-collar employees over a five-day workweek. These participants documented each break they took while on the job. Breaks included any time, formal, or informal, during the workday where they were not completing required work related tasks. After each break, participants completed short surveys about their activity and well-being.

Each employee took an average of two breaks per day. The results indicated that timing of breaks was a critical factor. The more hours that go by before taking a break, the less energized individuals were when they returned to the job. After a morning break, employees reported having more energy and motivation to return to work, and were better able to concentrate. Employees benefited most from breaks they preferred. Those who engaged in their own chosen activities and took a mid-morning break reported more job satisfaction, and less emotional exhaustion. They also experienced less headaches, eyestrain, and lower back pain.

So be sure to take a mid-morning break. Choose what you enjoy. What do you like? Coffee, socializing with coworkers, or walking outside?

Hunter, E. M., & Wu, C. (2015). Give Me a Better Break: Choosing Workday Break Activities to Maximize Resource Recovery. Journal of Applied Psychology. American Psychological Association

Vol. 100, No. 4, 000 0021-9010/15/$12.00 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000045

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