How To Maximize Your Workplace Breaks

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


We’ve all done it: gotten wrapped up in our workload and skipped out on a much needed brain break. Even worse, we’ve probably skipped out on an even more necessary break – lunch! 

In fact, research shows only 1 in 5 people actually step away from their desk for lunch and more than a quarter workers don’t take a break other than lunch. The same survey also revealed 90 percent of employers say they encourage breaks and 86 percent of employees acknowledge a break would result in higher productivity. So why don’t workers take the breaks they deserve? Guilt.

As avid proponents of company culture and the need for work-life balance, we can agree in the power of a good break. Don’t get us wrong – we don’t want employees getting carried away and neglecting responsibilities. What we do want are employees who use their work hours wisely, ultimately increasing productivity and producing the best results.

So how do you make that happen? Check out our three tips for maximizing workplace breaks and eliminating the guilt associated with them – whether they are 5 minutes or 60 minutes.

What is the key to ensuring your breaks are productive and actually happen? Plan them in advance. As you start your day, take a look at your to-do list and any meetings you have scheduled. From there, plan out when you’d like to do what and think about when a break would make the most sense. As you plan your breaks, just be sure to not let other things get in the way.

For example, if you’re working on a writing project that will take up most your morning, consider plugging in and taking a longer break (15-30 minutes) once you have wrapped up the assignment. If you’re working on monotonous tasks, take more breaks but keep them short & sweet (5-10 minutes). 

Even if it seems like you’re too busy, just remember: breaks are key to productivity

The key to taking a true break is making sure that time is spent doing something different than you would have been doing at your desk. As we all know, the work world is increasingly reliant on tech. So, as you step away from your desk, leave the tech behind… including your phone.

One thing I often find myself thinking about while on a break is what I will come back to when I get to my desk. This ultimately leads me to check my email and, as we all know, checking email is not taking a break.

Another thing we tend to do on breaks is hop on social media to check up on what you may be missing out on, this also is not the best use of your break. Not only can social media may make you feel left out, it can also lead to increased bitterness about your own life.

Need more reasons why to ditch your phone throughout the day? Greatist is here to help.

What’s the final step in maximizing your break? Doing something that makes you truly feel good. If you spend most of your day on the phone or in meetings, take your break as a time to spend alone – whether it be reading a book, taking a stroll outside or closing your eyes for a few minutes.

If you’re generally cut off from the world throughout the day, spend your break with a friend or colleague – just be sure to keep the work talk to an absolute minimum!

If your personal to-do list is an additional stressor, maybe take one good, long lunch break and run some much-needed errands. While you may not be able to take short breaks throughout the day, you’ll feel better knowing you have one less thing to do when you leave the office.

For more ideas on what to do doing your break, check out this infographic from Entrepreneur.

By planning ahead for your breaks and truly utilizing that time to recharge and refocus, some of the guilt associated with taking breaks will fade away. Once you have mastered the art of break-taking, your workload will also become more manageable and less stressful. Not only will this make you more productive, but it can also make your employer happier in the long run.