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The Importance of Breaks at Work

The Importance of Breaks at WorkWhen you think about employee wellness, work breaks probably aren't the first thing that comes to mind. You might think about health fairs, blood pressure, dieting, and weight loss. Maybe even meditation and yoga.

But what do breaks at work have to do with employee wellbeing?

 

Our latest employee wellness research uncovered some interesting results about work breaks. Keep reading to learn what we found.

 

Free Download: Overcoming Barriers to Employee Wellness

 

How do breaks at work relate to employee wellness?


When asked about breaks at work:

  • 38% of respondents reported having meal breaks that are less than 30 minutes
  • 35% said they eat their meals at their desks or work stations every day
  • 22% said they take zero work breaks, excluding restroom and meal breaks


meal breaks at work


More than half of employees who have very low wellness have meal breaks that are less than 30 minutes. Less than a third of employees who have very high wellness have similar meal breaks.

 

employee wellness and breaks at work


Almost half of employees who have very low wellness eat their meals at their workstations every day. Less than a quarter of employees who have very high wellness eat at their workstations at the same frequency.

 

how breaks at work impact employee wellness


More than a third of employees who have very low wellness also don’t take any work breaks. Less than one-fifth of employees who have very high wellness also don’t take any work breaks.

 

The results in this section can be summarized as follows: employees likely have lower wellness if they have short meal breaks, eat meals at their workstations every day, or don’t take breaks at work.

 

Most Common Types of Work Breaks


We also asked respondents to indicate which type of work breaks they take most often (excluding restroom and meal breaks). These four types accounted for 74% of all work breaks that employees take most often: 

  • Talking with coworkers about non-work topics
  • Checking phones for non-work messages, updates, etc.
  • Taking a walk outside or around the office
  • Browsing the internet for non-work content

Embracing Work Breaks


Breaks at work tend to have a bad image. Employers often view them as an excuse for employees to waste valuable time, be unproductive, or interrupt coworkers. But our research supports the idea that work breaks should instead be embraced as part of employee wellness.

 

Other studies are beginning to show their importance:

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Breaks at Work

 

1. Accept that breaks can have positive outcomes. Leadership and management should understand that breaks have the potential to be beneficial if they’re managed well.

 

2. Allow time for breaks. Employees are less likely to take breaks if they’re overworked, think they’re always on the clock, or believe they’ll be punished if caught taking a break.

 

3. Provide outlets for relaxing and socializing. These can be big (such as quiet rooms or game rooms) or small (such as soundproof headphones or board games in the kitchen).


 

Work breaks are one easy way to overcome barriers to employee wellness at work. To learn about other ways to reinforce employee wellbeing, download our ebook: Overcoming Barriers to Employee Wellness and Engagement.

 

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