In many an American workplace, there’s a stigma surrounding breaks. If we’re away from our desks, we’re not working, and if we’re not working, we’re not being productive. And as we all know, productivity is everything, right?
Maybe so, but according to research, employees are actually more productive when they step away from the cubicle and take the occasional breather. In a new Staples study, 85 percent of employees said they would be more productive if they were to take regular breaks, Fox Business reports. Unfortunately, more than 25 percent of workers don’t take breaks other than lunch, and while many cite guilt as the key reason they keep their noses to the grindstone, 55 percent said they simply don’t feel they can leave their desks.
While it may seem these work-all-day employees are good for business, University of Toronto professor John Trougakos says the opposite is true, and that job-related stress costs companies hundreds of billion a year — far more than they gain from having workers refrain from breaks.
“However, these costs can be reduced with regular work breaks, while improving employee effectiveness, satisfaction, and reducing strain and fatigue,” Trougakos said, according to fox. “Disconnecting from work can do wonders for people’s energy and mind-set.”
The Staples study bears this out; 59 percent of employees said taking regular breaks would make them happier at work, and 43 percent said they would increase personal happiness. Perhaps more importantly, 37 percent said breaks would make them feel healthier.
“It’s important that employees understand the value of taking a quality break,” said Staples Advantage senior vice president of commercial and enterprise sales Tom Heisroth. “Disconnecting can increase their happiness, health and productivity.”
How do you get employees taking breaks? As per the Staples study, nearly 60 percent of employees said they’d be apt to take breaks were there well-stocked break rooms in their offices, and 76 percent said these types of rooms would make them less stressed.