With growing work loads and never ending to-do lists, employees are finding it more difficult to step away from their desks throughout the day. According to a recent OfficeTeam survey, it is reported that nearly half of workers take 30 minutes or less for lunch. Aside from lunch, reports show more than a quarter of workers do not take any breaks during the work day. While some employers may be happy to see these results, this could actually be detrimental to productivity in the workplace.
Why take breaks?
Breaks are not only vital for success but also for one’s sanity. Anyone that sits in front of a computer screen for a large portion of the day will probably tell you it can be draining. As the work day progresses, each task and responsibility increasingly diminishes on one’s emotional and intellectual resources. For the best chance at recharging enough to avoid an afternoon slump, you should consider stepping away from your desk, even briefly.
How to get the most out of breaks
The easiest and most effective way to gain energy is by eating lunch, especially if you know what to eat. Not only should this break be used as a chance to refuel with food, but also consider this a time to socialize. Whether you sit down with a co-worker you see daily, or arrange plans with a friend outside of the office, taking a break with someone else offers added benefits. Connecting with colleagues socially has proven to be energizing. Talking about topics other than work will alleviate some of the day’s stress and may put employees in a better mood when heading back to their desks.
If you are someone who doesn’t mind eating lunch at a desk or often bring a lunch from home, try to take a short nap. Many employers have started to realize the advantage of allowing employees to nap during work. It is not uncommon to find nap rooms or quiet areas at more progressive companies. If your employer has this amenity, take advantage of it! If not, find a comfortable place away from your desk with little noise to get some shut eye or to decompress for a few. Advice on how long to nap differs as each person is different, but usually just 10 to 20 minutes will do the trick.
No matter how you decide to use it, you will see improvements from taking time away from your desk midday. You will return to work feeling energized and more prepared to tackle the rest of the day. Working hard is important, nothing will change that. But, in order to be the hero your boss wants you to be, you need to take a break. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it later.
Do you have another way of fighting off afternoon fatigue? Leave a comment. We love new suggestions!