I know, I know. It sounds counterintuitive to take breaks in order to stay on track at work, but taking breaks has proven to be a very effective way to maintain engagement and motivation and to stimulate creativity.
Related to our theme this month of staying on track after the energy of the new year wanes, we can see proof of the benefits of taking breaks. Maybe, just maybe, one of the primary reasons why we are so incredibly productive in January is because we took a huge break in December, focused on things other than work, and enjoyed our time away. When it came time to get back to work after the holidays, we were refreshed, recharged, and ready to go!
Entrepreneurs are notorious for never taking breaks, but we are now finding out that working fewer hours actually makes people accomplish more. This is true for employees as well as employers.
How Much Of A Break Is Enough?
Now, when we say take a break do we mean take a couple weeks off like you did in December? How much of a break is enough? Do we have to go on a week-long vacation or does a coffee break suffice?
When it comes to the benefits of taking breaks, anything helps! Vacations, sabbaticals, coffee breaks, lunch breaks, half-day Fridays, you name it. The important thing is that you step away from the work and don’t work while you’re on your break!
Time and time again we hear how overworked employees burn out faster, are less motivated and less engaged at work, and are more unhappy and stressed out! Do you want that to be you or your employees? No! Of course, you don’t.
So start encouraging everyone to take breaks throughout the day, yourself included. And don’t expect anyone to be working on their days off.
How To Support Breaks In The Workplace:
- Set up a break room. Nothing says breaks are welcome like an actual break room. Smaller businesses can outfit the room to meet employee interests, but at a minimum the break room should be used to get away from work. That means, not a meeting room that doubles as a break room. Make sure it has comfortable seating and tables for lunch breaks or snacks. You may want to give it a different décor than the rest of the office to make it more relaxing or just to give the room a different feel.
- Get a fancy coffee machine. Install a specialty coffee machine, provide a variety of coffees, teas, or other beverages and create a coffee station to drum up interest and encourage breaks. Put a modern spin to the old “water cooler” days where co-workers would gather round to shoot the breeze while taking a little break from work. Employees will benefit from both the step away from the desk and the chance to socialize with their colleagues.
- Establish a no-meeting policy during break time. How many people work through lunch or skip lunch because they have meetings scheduled? Don’t contribute to it. Be clear in your expectation that there are to be no meetings scheduled during the lunch hour. What ever happened to the good old-fashioned lunch break? Bring it back!
- Model it. None of your efforts will take hold if you don’t model the behavior Take breaks and make sure your employees see you doing so! Talk it up in staff meetings or emails. Your investment in breaks will let them know that you’re serious about breaks and that it is okay for employees to take breaks too.
Connect With Others To Support Break Mentality
Peers are a great resource for keeping you on track and motivated, even if that motivation is a reminder to take a break! Join other entrepreneurs through The Marketing Shop! Our social media program and branded expert interviews both support and build peer-to-peer connections that extend well beyond the topic of the day. Make friends, share advice, and maintain motivation with help from people in the exact same situation as yourself!
Contact The Marketing Shop for more information!