Last Updated on April 8, 2016
Employers appreciate employees who work hard and put in long hours. However, a good employee should be sure to take regular breaks to maintain health and productivity. A break could be defined as a half-hour to an hour with a full meal or a 10 to 15 minute break in which the person just walks around and stretches his or her muscles.
The type of break and the activities involved during such a break depend on the type of job the person has. The following information is based on an eight-hour work shift in a sitting position at a computer terminal.
The Importance of Taking Breaks at Work
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Taking breaks during work is very important to the employee’s physical and mental health. Keeping the mind focused on the same activity for lengthy periods will eventually tire it out. When the brain becomes tired, it begins to work less, which can lead to mistakes and low work quality. A tired brain can also give signals to the body to go to sleep, which is why many people fall asleep at their terminals. Additionally, people who spend long intervals in front of a computer can develop vision problems. Blurred vision is a common effect in 93% of people who spend too much time in front of a computer without giving their eyes and their brains relief from the strain.
If a person pushes himself or herself for too long without giving the brain a rest, he or she could suffer from adverse side effects. Irritability, distraction, confusion, nervousness, anxiety and fatigue can occur from not giving the brain a rest. All of those symptoms can cause additional problems at the job such as fighting between co-workers and substandard work quality. Resting the brain or stimulating it with an alternative activity after a certain amount of time will help to prevent the bad side effects from happening.
Lack of activity tends to make people’s blood sugar levels rise. Dormant workers stand a greater chance of developing diabetes than workers who take regular breaks. A recent study showed that a simple ten-minute break in which the workers walked around every 20 minutes prevented them from having unusual blood sugar spikes. It was notated that prolong sitting affected the body’s response to food. Therefore, engaging in some type of activity during one’s workday can help to prevent diabetes and heart disease.
Sitting for long periods can affect a person physically as well. A person can develop ailments in his or her back, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. Taking the weight and the pressure off those areas can strengthen them instead of harming them.
When to Take a Break
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Not everyone has an ideal job where the employer is willing to issue frequent breaks. However, a worker should be able to find the time to take a short break every two hours in addition to his or her regular break. The best system to have for breaks is 15 minutes every two hours. The worker should take 15 minutes to rest his or her eyes after staring at a computer terminal for two hours.
He or she can take the fifteen minutes to take the strain off his or her eyes and focus on something else. The individual should also try to blink as often as possible because it helps to avoid a dry eye condition. Shutting the eyes for a few minutes is also a good suggestion.
People who have a bit more freedom at work can get creative with exercises they can do while taking a break. One idea for a job with stairs is to walk up and down the stairs ten times to get exercise. Not only will this activity kick-start the cardio vascular system, but it will also increase the person’s metabolism and give his or her brain a boost to enhance performance.
Proof that Breaks Work
There is statistical evidence that taking breaks during one’s work shift is beneficial. A recent study performed at a call center reported that more than 50% of workers who took regular breaks increased their performance more than 33%. These workers were able to handle larger volumes of customers, providing them with accurate information and assistance.
Additionally, some of the workers won acknowledgment certificates for giving superior customer service. It does pay to take a break from working. Therefore, anyone in any position should try his or her best to take one. Just 15 minutes per day can help to enhance overall job performance, which will ultimately make the employer happy.
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