Time Out: Why You Should Schedule Regular Breaks

23 January 2017

Do you need an excuse to leave the air-conditioning for a breath of fresh air? This may be just what you’re looking for. Working for long periods of time without taking breaks away from the computer can have serious adverse effects, mentally, physically and emotionally. If your team isn’t taking regular breaks, your business could be suffering too. It’s time to give in to that distraction, and allow your team to daydream during the day too. 

Increased Productivity

Pushing through your work day without a break because ‘there just isn’t time’ will not only leave you tired, but most likely having achieved less, or poorer quality work than if you took a break or three. The average adult attention span is between 15 and 40 minutes, and if we continue trying to focus on the same task past this time, our productivity and effectiveness begins to wane. Studies have long shown that regular breaks increase your productivity because they refresh you, giving your brain a break rather than wearing it down continuously. So if you want to get more done, step away from the desk.

man looking out office window over city Give your eyes a break by looking out the office window at buildings, roads and mountains far in the distance.

Help Your Eye Health

There is such a thing as Computer Vision Syndrome. Just as it sounds, this is when you stare at a screen for long periods of time, resulting in blurred vision, headaches, eye strain, neck and shoulder pain. Take your eyes away from screens – phones included- every couple of hours and stare into the distance to give your eyes a break.

Improved Memory

An increasing number of start ups and global companies are introducing time-out spaces and nap pods into their offices – and there’s a good reason for it. Studies show that switching off your brain with a nap, whether for 10 minutes or an hour, increases mental alertness and memory, which we’re sure will make you better at your job.

runners running up staircase Exercising at lunchtime gets you into the fresh air, body moving, gives your eyes a break and allows you to mentally recharge for the afternoon.

Better Physical Health

It’s really a no brainer that getting up and walking around, even to the kitchen and back, multiple times a day is better for your body than not going at all. Studies have shown that people who take more breaks have a lower body mass index and are generally healthier. Moving regularly is also good for your joints, muscles and metabolism because it keeps your body moving.

Boosted Creativity

Getting away from your screen does wonders for your creativity. Stimulate your senses with a walk outside in nature, or an un-work-related conversation with colleagues, which in turn stimulate different parts of your brain, awakening creativity. Meditation is also a proven way to boost creativity.

Mental Wellness And Compassion

Some office environments are more challenging than others. If yours falls into the former category, taking a break from your desk to practise mindfulness and meditation could be the key to increasing your happiness and compassion at work. Breaks that calm the mind, like meditation and yoga, allow your brain more space and energy to renew itself, allowing you to stay calm and more easily brush off tension or frustration with colleagues. 

Vicki Fletcher

An Australian writer and photographer, Vicki loves road trips down unknown tracks, following locals to the best food in town and spending long afternoons people watching in city squares. She's written for publications across Australia and Europe. Top travel tip: always look up. Follow Vicki on Instagram @vickijanefletcher.

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