How breaks enhance employee productivity

Breaks can enhance employee productivity.

Breaks can enhance employee productivity.

The more productive employees are, the better it is for business. While it is a common perception that working hard will achieve desired results, when it comes to the workplace, working "smart" might be a better approach. If your workplace runs on the typical nine-to-five workday schedule, breaks should factor into the mix. As it turns out, balance between work and breaks taken can have an impact on employee productivity.

Researchers at career website The Muse measured employee productivity and found that the most productive workers spent 52 minutes intensely concentrating on accomplishing tasks, followed by a 17 minute break. Establishing this type of workflow allowed the employees to accomplish more in less time. The trick was that these workers worked "with purpose," during the 52 minute time span, and during the 17 minute break, completely removed themselves from work. 

By allowing these effective rest periods between intense periods of work, employees using this method became increasingly productive. The article recommends that during the breaks, employees get out and do something different, such as taking a walk or stretching. 

It is up to HR to help ensure that the workplace is healthy and safe for everyone involved, and breaks factor into this equation. Not only is it required by law that workers receive breaks when working for certain periods of time, but as this research shows, it can help them perform better. 

With an effective HR system, departments can try out new measures that will encourage employees to take healthy breaks and work in an increasingly productive fashion. HR can monitor performance to see what's working, taking steps toward creating a working environment that is conducive to high levels of productivity.