Workers have long been obligated to take breaks throughout the day, but blurred lines between home and work have threatened this notion.
However, new research indicates that “micro-breaks” could help workers remain engaged and productive throughout the day.
Patricia Albulescu and Coralia Sulea, co-authors of the study published in journal PLOS ONE, describe micro-breaks as taking breaks of 10 minutes or less. For those who incorporated these breaks throughout the day, workers were 60% more likely to feel energetic.
Although the findings did not conclude whether micro-breaks could be tied to improved work performance, various studies suggest that the longer the break, the bigger workplace improvement there was.
“The more fatigued you get, the more effort you have to put in to keep performing. So you actually are expending more and more effort and doing it less and less efficiently,” said John P. Trougakos, a professor of organizational behavior and HR management at University of Toronto-Scarborough.
“Short breaks, whether it’s a 10-minute break, a 5-minute break, standing up and stretching, you’re kind of giving the person a chance to stop the depletion cycle, but also re-energize themselves a little bit.”
Not only do studies indicate that shorter breaks are important for workplace longevity, they can alleviate stress on a worker’s body, improve their sleep and overall quality of life.
Ideally, Trougakos suggests that work schedules follow a cycle of 90 minutes of work, followed by a 15-to-20-minute break, with microbreaks interwoven during the working period.