It may seem like an easy task, but getting your employees to actually take productive breaks is more challenging than getting them to do their work. This is because, while they might not do actual work, they’re stuck in the same environment, consisting of overexposure to electronic devices, sitting all day on furniture that’s not good for their posture, and not eating or drinking healthily. This often results in an employee with a stale mind and a negative attitude towards their work environment, which can cost your company significantly.
The importance of employees with fresh minds can’t be reiterated enough. And, if you’re still stuck in the antique mindset that fewer breaks means more output, you’re likely also dealing with some of the most unproductive employees in the industry.
According to studies by Dr Sung Doo Kim of the Carl H. College of Business at the University of Cincinnati, and a doctoral student in psychological sciences Sooyeol Kim, employees who take more productive breaks have been seen to produce more in a day than those who are stuck at their desks ‘slaving away’.
So, how do you get your employees to take active breaks at work?
Don’t be a pain in the ***
First things first, get rid of the iron fist you use to rule the office. It’s not good for anyone and makes people afraid of taking their lunch breaks. In a survey by Staples, it was revealed that 1 in 5 respondents felt guilty about taking any kind of pause in their work schedule. While the cause may vary, it’s likely due to management styles whereby superiors frown upon those who decide to relax for a couple of minutes just to clear their thoughts.
Provide useful facilities
A tap, some sugar and a tin of filtered coffee isn’t enough incentive for people to take breaks. Your employees deserve to have access to some other essentials such as filtered water from water coolers, a coffee machine, and a section of the office where they can sit and relax set far from their desks. Introducing fun-inspiring furniture such as table tennis or pool tables, fixtures like dart boards and even video game consoles can encourage people to step away from their desk between periods of hard work.
Insist on them using social media at work
This is a very contentious subject even among researchers. However, there is a general consensus that moderate use of social media helps to encourage creativity and productivity. As platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook double as major sources of news and other helpful information for majority of users, encouraging staff to proportionally browse through their social media timelines can have a positive effect on their productivity.
For instance, news sites such as Buzzfeed and Mashable promote all their posts on social media, allowing their followers to easily find insightful, entertaining and industry-related content. After reading the information, they might get inspired and go back to work with a better perspective.
Create an open plan office
Closed-off offices with cubicles tend to isolate employees and restrict their freedom of movement. Not only is this bad for productivity because they stay in their corners, but it also impacts relationships as staff members can’t mix and mingle as much.
This can damage output, as there are no people sharing ideas and the layout is too depressing to inspire. As such, you should design an open plan office that allows people to move freely. If possible, also try to have an office with a lot of natural light flowing into it.
Tendai is a content manager for The Water Cooler Company and has written numerous articles on health and wellbeing. He can be followed on Google+ for more engaging content about topics relating to health and fitness. https://plus.google.com/u/0/105562991514641803946/posts