WACO, Texas (CBS Houston)– Taking short, frequent breaks during the work day may help give employees that extra boost to help recharge and fight fatigue, according to a new study.
“Unlike your cellphone, which popular wisdom tells us should be depleted to zero percent before you charge it fully to 100 percent, people instead need to charge more frequently throughout the day,” Baylor University professor and researcher Dr. Emily Hunter told New York Daily News.
Researchers found mid-morning is the most effective time for workers to take a brief break because it boosts energy levels. The study surveyed 95 employees between the ages of 22 and 67 to assess what kind of breaks were most beneficial to workers.
Employees documented each break they took over the course of a five-day workweek, among them lunch and coffee, checking personal emails, and socializing with co-workers. Researchers note bathroom breaks were not considered for the survey.
The more than 900 surveys collected averaged about two breaks a day per person, according to the study. The findings suggest that a mid-morning break was more beneficial than an hour lunch break or mid-afternoon break because it reset motivation, energy, and concentration.
Relaxing breaks were also associated with a reduction in headaches, eyestrain, and lower back pain upon returning back to work. Researchers say that the more beneficial breaks included employees engaging in activities of their choice, even if they were work-related.
“Finding something on your break that you prefer to do – something that’s not given to you or assigned to you – are the kinds of activities that are going to make your breaks much more restful, provide better recovery and help you come back to work stronger,” Hunter told the Daily News.