There's No Breaks in the Workplace!
Employee engagement, employee happiness, employee BREAKS!? In a movie, that’s where the record player would scratch to indicate something terrible just happened. BREAKS!? “Workers aren’t hired to take breaks; they’re hired to WORK!” That’s one person’s opinion. I think this sentence should be said like this, “PEOPLE are invited into roles to increase production.” Research shows, paradoxically, that taking breaks can supplement and increase productivity. I’m a fortunate man, for many reasons, but incredibly fortunate to work for a company that provides some autonomy, empowers me to make decisions and allows me to empower those I work with.
In our growing company, our Marketing Department is comprised of two people, me and a wonderful person named Amber. Our roles have been set up to support our “happy place” in the context of workflows. I’m empowered to think big, vision-cast, oversee big projects. Amber comes alongside me and makes sure that while I’m being a dreamer and visionary, the small details don’t get missed. Even though we are in our happy places, there are, of course, things we have to do that we don’t love. Amber is an incredibly efficient worker-bee, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get tired, frustrated with a process, or straight up burnt out on a project. I saw this, not just in her but also myself. What’s the solution? I established a weekly 1-1 over coffee. We think bigger. We bond, and we get things done. Period. As a result of these meetings, we have become more productive and more connected in thought and communication. What’s the takeaway? Sometimes… Coffee. Just take a break.
Science Says Breaks Are Okay
For those more analytically driven, here are some points to consider:
- Increased productivity: the decision-making, logical, and reasoning part of the brain is centered in our Pre-Frontal Cortex. Many of us put massive amounts of responsibility on this part of the brain throughout our workdays. Your brain has a burn limit! Taking a break, stretching your legs, even daydreaming can help rejuvenate your brain and help you make decisions (Forbes & Buffer).
- Decision-Making: Author S.J. Scott explains that the necessity to make multiple decisions a day can “wear down your willpower and reasoning ability” (Psychology Today). This is called ‘decision fatigue’. By taking a few short breaks a day, it can reduce your burnout, or decision fatigue, to keep your mind sharp and efficient.