Taking breaks during the workday has been scientifically proven to increase productivity and reduce stress. Employees return to tasks with restored focus, revived creativity and an improved overall wellbeing.
Consider encouraging your employees to incorporate breaks into their workday routine with these simple ways to decompress and refresh:
- Rest your eyes: If most of the day is spent on the computer, the eyes need a rest. Staring too long at a screen can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches. Remember the 20-20-20 exercise to keep eyes sharp: every 20 minutes look 20 feet away and gaze at an object for 20 seconds. This relaxes the focusing muscle that can cause eye fatigue.
- Move around: Chances are people who are on the computer a lot are sitting a lot. Too much sitting increases the risk for heart disease, obesity and depression. One should be sure to get up and move for at least five minutes every hour. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block or to the breakroom, some yoga or stretching, it will benefit productivity and state of mind.
- Try mindfulness: One doesn’t have to sit silently in a meditation pose to attain the benefits of a few minutes (or even 30 seconds!) of breathing. Conscious, deep breathing is all a person needs to relax body and mind, and to enter a better position for making decisions and dealing with stress. Bonus points for getting outside to breathe fresh air!
- Change tasks: When stuck on the same task for a few hours, try jumping to another task. This will give the brain a break, allowing the person to come back to the original task with a restored viewpoint. If content has been created all morning and writer’s block is brewing, trying something visual like choosing images for a web page will help.
- Daydream: For creatives, this is a natural way to tap into the subconscious and allow the brain to make connections from all the information overload. Drawing and doodling can activate the creative right-brain and give the logical left-brain a rest.
- Perk up: Everyone’s favorite kind of break! Take a walk to the breakroom and grab some coffee or tea for a caffeine boost. The caffeine will increase energy levels, mood and general cognitive function, helping one to avoid that afternoon slump. If the breakroom has full-service coffee, there won’t be a shortage of options to try.
- Snack away: Eating a candy bar or an entire bag of chips isn’t a great idea but grabbing a brain-boosting snack of healthy fats and carbs will sustain energy and workflow longer. Grabbing almonds, cheese, a granola bar like Clif or Kind bars, or an apple with peanut butter makes for a satisfying treat.
By encouraging employees to take breaks—whether you choose to have them be frequent or scheduled, short or long—you are promoting a health-conscious company culture that shows employees that their wellbeing and job satisfaction is valued.