‘Micro-Breaks’ can help you feel better at work

How long does it take to take a break from work to feel better?

It won’t be long, according to a new research review of “violate,” which the authors defined as a break of 10 minutes or less. The findings were published on August 31 in the journal PLOS ONE. Those who took a break experienced a statistically significant increase in their health — making them feel stronger and less tired. According to Patricia Albulescu and Coralia Sulea, co-authors of the study, the results are based on a review of 22 previously published studies that included 2,335 participants, indicating that people who take small breaks have a higher proportion Feeling more energetic about 60% better. researchers at the University of West Timisoara in Romania.

However, research is less conclusive on whether irregular breaks improve job performance. The benefits varied between studies and on different types of tasks, and ultimately the effect was not statistically significant, although the researchers found that there was an improvement with longer breaks.

However, there is solid evidence that for your average worker there are sedentary John P. T Rouakos, professor of organizational behavior and human resource management in the department of management at the University of Toronto-Scarborough, and a recess expert. (He did not participate in the new review.) By incorporating both short breaks and long breaks into the workday, workers feel better and produce better quality work.

Here’s what to know about missed breaks and how they can improve your workday.

Why are short breaks important?

T Rouakos argues that the studies in the new review missed an important factor: fatigue tends to get worse over time. Because the experiments in the 22 studies were time-constrained, it was not possible to measure the ways in which work fatigue can create a vicious cycle of performance.

“The more tired you are, the more effort you have to put in to keep performing. So you’re actually using more and more effort and doing it less and less effectively,” says T Rouakos. role, you are giving that person a chance to stop the cycle of exhaustion, but also to help re-energize yourself a bit.”

Overall, T Rouakos says, although there haven’t been many studies on micro-breaks and performance, the science shows that short breaks are important. That includes studies with an ergonomic perspective, which have found that rest and eye strain are necessary to avoid eye strain and bone fatigue — discomforts that can distract workers and burn out. strength. Not getting enough rest can also negatively affect workers’ sleep quality and life outside of work, leaving them feeling exhausted over time. Studies show that highly productive employees tend to work relatively short hours, with long breaks — according to research published by a company that tracks productivity, spending 52 minutes work for every 17 minute break. “The idea is: you don’t work harder to be more productive; you work smarter to be more productive,” says T Rouakos.

Ideal break

The amount of rest you need may depend on what you’re doing; For example, activities you enjoy can drain you more than a job you hate or stress you out. As a general rule, however, T Rouakos recommends spending about 90 minutes working, followed by 15 or 20 minutes of breaks. During that time, you will also have short breaks. T Rouakos suggests taking short breaks every 20 or 30 minutes, as well as taking a break to “get off duty” somewhere in between those 90 minutes.

But what is the best way to rest during these brief periods of time? While there’s evidence that some things are good for everyone, such as stretching, relaxation, or light-to-moderate physical activity (think: going for a walk), T Rouakos says, time The best time to rest depends on the preferences of each person. For example, an extrovert might choose to go out for coffee with their work buddies, while an introvert might look outside with a book. The important thing, he says, is that you have control over what you do during your break.

To be sure, T Rouakos admits that some managers and companies will be nervous about allowing their employees to take that much time off. Flexibility is key — employees have different break needs, which can vary depending on the task or even from day to day. In many cases, however, T Rouakos argues that the switch to combined schedule and work from home gave organizations and workers a new opportunity: branch out and find new ways of working to maximize productivity. While allowing flexibility during time off can be offensive to companies, it actually aligns with what most employers value: “making people productive.” , but also be healthy and lead a balanced life,” says T Rouakos.

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