CAN A WORKPLACE REALLY ENCOURAGE BREAKS AND STILL BE COMPETITIVE and PRODUCTIVE?
Popular belief is that breaks and exercise will reduce productivity by interrupting the work. In practice, studies show quite the opposite – productivity doesn’t reduce, but in fact can increase. According to a new Cornell University study, when workers were reminded on a regular basis to assume good posture, take short breaks and stretch, they did more accurate work and as a result were more productive.
Research by Traci Galinsky, a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service and a member of the human factors in ergonomics research team at NIOSH, found that when workers get up and walk at regular intervals over the day they are more productive. "We found that not only does that reduce the discomfort that accumulates over the work day, it also tends to enhance performance enough to offset any productivity loss that you'd expect by giving the breaks. Overall work quantity was maintained," Galinsky said. "The breaks appear to allow for recovery from fatigue so that when they go back to work, their work is enhanced."
"Work to Live" author Joe Robinson cites several studies showing that breaks improve productivity. Short intervals for relaxation allow us to sustain high levels of effort more of the time.
CREATE BOOSTER BREAKS RATHER THAN TRADITIONAL BREAKS
It is common for workers to have two 10-15 minute work breaks each day. Unfortunately work breaks frequently involve health-compromising behaviors such as snacking or smoking. . Work breaks are important but currently underutilized opportunity to help an employee feel better, be more productive and even become healthier.
Show people how to use that 10 of their 15 minute break to do some stretches, to do some light exercise or deep breathing to relax the mind and body before they get their cup of coffee. They will feel better and honestly be more productive. If they stretch and exercise somewhat regularly – two or three days each week - they will get health benefits as well. An on-site coach could help motivate and teach people how to do this – see www.beproactive.com for information about how Proactive Partners can provide affordable workplace coach programs.
A 5 MINUTE BOOSTER BREAK IS
People don’t have to stretch for 15 minutes (although they will find that it really feels great). Just taking 5 minutes to stretch, do a few exercises or some deep breathing to relax the mind and body can make a difference. There’s are some great programs offered at www.Take5Moment.com
MY ADVICE TO COMPANIES
Encourage employees to take breaks through the day and teach them how to take a healthy break, a booster break so they feel good at work all day. It will improve performance, enhance productivity. Talk to the experts at Proactive Partners - www.beproactive.com.
MY ADVICE TO EMPLOYEES
Take frequent breaks. And do light movement during your breaks – stretch, walk around the block, do some lunges down the hallway, do the stairs a couple of times just for the exercise. You will feel better through the day. And at the end of the day you go home feeling more energized, feeling better so you can enjoy your family.