Gimme a break! Employees vent about workplace timeouts in survey
- Recent research by Staples shows that employees are working longer hours—with two thirds spending more than 8 hours a day at work—but they are taking fewer breaks than in years past. In fact, 27% of workers don’t take a break other than lunch, and about one in five employees (19%) don’t even take a lunch break, according to an article on hr.blr.com.
- The survey showed that while both employers and employees acknowledge the importance of breaks, more than a quarter of workers don’t take a break at work other than lunch. This was interesting because our survey also showed that 90% of employers say they encourage breaks, and an overwhelming majority of workers (86%) acknowledge that taking a break would make them more productive.
- One in five employee respondents cited guilt as the reason they don’t step away from their workspaces. In addition, 55% of employees felt they couldn’t leave their desk to take a break.
Chris Correnti, Staples vice president, told hr.ble that the key to taking a quality break starts with fostering a break-friendly culture in the workplace. For example, a break-friendly culture may lie in the breakroom itself, as 58% of respondents said a well-stocked/comfortable breakroom would encourage breaks, and 76% said such breakrooms would allow them to unwind and relieve stress.
To help employers encourage breaks, Staples recommends providing healthy snacks and drinks, improving comfort (50% of respondents don’t have a properly furnished breakroom to allow for relaxation), and finally encouraging workers to "disconnect" when taking a break. John Trougakos, associate professor of management at the University of Toronto, advises employees need to detach mentally from work to restore the energy it takes to work productively. Thinking about work doesn’t relieve stress and employees won’t fully recharge or maximize the usefulness of a break.