In the workplace it is general practice to have set breaks. It is common to have your two fifteen-minute coffee breaks and your lunch break, which is generally between thirty minutes to an hour. It has been this way for years to run your business with these allotted break times in hopes to increase the work that is being accomplished. This is generally a regulation that is not often questioned. But when you really think about it are we accomplishing exactly what we want with these set times.
In your regular work day, it is interesting to pay attention to how often we glance at the clock almost as if it’s a countdown. We are counting down the minutes till our next break and till our shift is over. The hours and minutes can roll on so slowly and we tend to fall into an anxious state waiting to have those few minutes. This can have a negative effect on our moral and our output of work. What if we were to question how we set up our breaks in the workplace and try something new?
A study was completed by the Harvard Business School about the effects of unexpected breaks and how they affect your work in the workplace. Having set times for breaks can have a negative effect on productivity as you are completely disengaging, but if you look at unplanned short breaks such as a quick chat with another peer in the coffee room, your focus is not completely taken away from the work at hand. For example in Alberta there are standards that need to be followed regarding hours worked and breaks. For an 8.5 hour shift legally an employer needs a thirty minute break. If you take that break and add in the ability for unplanned short breaks it could completely change the focus in the workplace. Allowing for unplanned short breaks can give your employees an opportunity to feel more energized and focused on their work as it can be refreshing. Taking this approach may offer great benefit in your business and is change of pace in how things normally run. If you are finding your business has a lower productivity rate, then you are pushing for maybe this could be the answer you need.
Below is a link to the study from the Harvard Business School.