Let’s face it. When it comes to working in an office, many employees are unintentionally sabotaging their own productivity. For example, while US law mandates that workers be allowed to take a lunch break during the day, very few actually do.
In fact, according to a survey done by Right Management in 2012, only 1 in 5 employees take a real lunch break. Furthermore, 39 percent stay at their desk to eat.
With numbers like these, chances are no one is surprised that the majority of employees feel “too busy” to take a short breather. However, most will also admit that staying hunched over in their cubicle and attempting to just power through rarely works.
Most employees want to make the most out of their 9 to 5, so here are three key reasons why you should prioritize taking a break while on the job.
Despite the pervasive image of a productive worker being the one that never stops for a second, the opposite is true. Over the years, there have been many studies which show that employees who take breaks are in fact more effective than those who don’t.
Even if you only have time for a fairly short break, go for it. They can make a difference, as according to an infographic featured on Lifehack, workers who took regular mini-breaks of just 2 minutes in length experienced more than an 11% increase in productivity.
In addition, having a time-out is a great way to improve your focus, as taking a step back helps most employees to reevaluate their work with a big-picture perspective.
Greater Ability to Problem Solve
Ever wonder why so many eureka moments happen while you’re in the shower? Turns out it’s deeply tied into how the human brain works.
Specifically, our minds process information via two modes, known as the “focused” mode and the “diffused” mode. While the focused mode is necessary when doing tasks such as writing, typing, or learning things, the diffused mode is more than just idle daydreaming.
Basically a type of relaxed thinking, the diffused mode allows your mind to tap into various areas of your brain and make new connections. As a result, it not only plays a critical part in refreshing your mind, but can also facilitate those vital breakthroughs.
Thus, whether you often hit mental walls at work or your job requires you to deal with challenging problems, try taking a break and letting your mind wander for a bit.
Better Body Health
In addition to improved problem solving, taking a break is also good for your body. From going on a walk to eating lunch away from your desk, workers who take breaks find that they not only return with increased energy, but also feel less fatigued, sore, or stressed.
Of course, things like an ergonomic office setup can play a part in reducing physical strain on your body, however, it’s still important to get your circulation flowing.
At the very least, just stand up and stretch for a minute. Your body will thank you.