Are office-sanctioned breaks counter-productive? Here are 3 reasons that prove otherwise

The cognitive and overall health benefits of taking scheduled office breaks are virtually unlimited. People work better when they aren’t mentally fried, too hungry to focus or sore from sitting still too long. Some argue that periodic bouts of detachment from work-related duties enhance mental acuity, focus and overall productivity. Others assert that time away from the job does little more than lower employee output. Here are three reasons why all employees should be getting up from their desks and engaging in other activities at various intervals throughout the day.

Mental Focus Is Like A Muscle

The brain really is a lot like a muscle. The more people use their brains, the more mentally adept they become. However, just like a hamstring or bicep, the brain can become overworked by sustained use. Rest gives the mind a chance to recover, and this means people will be better able to concentrate on complex tasks and use their problem-solving skills when they take moderate breaks during the day. Much like a bodybuilder, a person who flexes his or her brain and then allows it to relax and refresh before re-engaging will become increasingly skilled at focusing on major or complex tasks for extended periods of time. In this way, regular breaks can be a great way to build up the productivity and overall efficacy of an in-house team.

When Mental Focus Slips, So Do Employees

One of the most important reasons to establish office-sanctioned breaks is that employees are going to tune out regardless of whether they’ve been granted permission to do so. The lure and accessibility of personal technology is simply too high and many people know that taking a quick break to update social networking profiles, check their personal email and perform other activities will give them a well-needed mental break. This is true even among professionals with a strong work ethic. Once mental focus starts to wane, the ability to resist the temptation to surf the web for pleasure wanes as well.  Giving people a scheduled opportunity to handle personal duties and focus on other things will limit the amount of downtime that your workforce actually experiences.

Breaks Mitigate Repetitive Strain Injuries

Preserving employees’ physical health is a critical part of talent asset management. Routine breaks are essential for lowering instances of repetitive strain injuries and the workers’ compensation claims that often follow. Allowing employees to get up, stretch, move around, and engage in other activities can prevent loss of manpower as a result of repetitive strain injuries. This in turn helps firms avoid the costs of having to find and train temporary replacements or implement expensive Return to Work programs. Ultimately, scheduled breaks from redundant actions are just as important as installing ergonomically designed furnishings at work stations.

Office-sanctioned breaks are vital for improving productivity and maintaining a healthy and robust workforce, and their duration and efficacy have become a lot easier to track. PerfectForms offers workflow apps that turn real-time data into major insights, allowing companies to see exactly how breaks are impacting productivity and employee focus. From time tracking forms to employee surveys and 360-degree appraisals, there are numerous tools that will eliminate the guesswork. By utilizing these resources, companies can know exactly how workers’ time away from focused duties is impacting their bottom lines.


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