Study: Majority of employees still only take lunch breaks, despite working longer shifts

Is your business open to taking breaks? If so, research shows employees aren't.

Is your business open to taking breaks? If so, research shows employees aren't.

Businesses know that an engaged workforce is key to their success, but what if employees are becoming less productive? Some assume that these individuals are unmotivated or unengaged in their position, but oftentimes the lower output is due to not taking enough breaks.

When staff members take a solid break, they are giving themselves the opportunity to relax and clear their minds. Nonetheless, a survey from Staples, an office supply retailer, found that while 41 percent of employees "feel burned out from working longer days," 55 percent feel uncomfortable taking a breather outside of their lunch break. One of the more interesting findings was that more than three-quarters of respondents noted that taking a break would make them be more productive.

"It's important that employees understand the value of taking a quality break," Tom Heisroth, Senior Vice President, Commercial and Enterprise Sales, Staples Advantage said in its news release on the survey's findings. "Disconnecting can increase their happiness, health and productivity."

In fact, 90 percent of employers encourage staff members to take a break. So why are workers choosing to stay at their desks, eventually building up a significant amount of work-related stress?Reasons may vary from company to company, but if it is the case, there needs to be a change within the organization. 

Executives and human resources need to do more to emphasize a work environment that welcomes periodic breaks because it will create a more productive work environment. Failing to do so could result in fewer completed assignments, costing the organizations thousands, if not millions of dollars per year.

One of the first steps to achieving a more inviting environment to unwind is using HR software to identify when the office works later. This could be due to deadlines or other pertinent tasks, but HR software solutions can identify such patterns and use the data to create new break policies.

Staples found that nearly 20 percent of employees don't take breaks because they feel guilty for doing so. Over time, this could result in the need to have distractions during work, which could also result in longer hours worked per day and the average output per staff member dropping, according to Wall Street investor and author Ben Carpenter.

"Being too tired to do your job well is just one type of distraction that's detrimental to your career," Carpenter told Exchange Magazine. "Constantly checking your Facebook page, taking personal calls at work, and spending too much time at the water cooler are others. People will notice your distraction, even if you think they won't."

Employers who wish to make breaks more common have to assure employees that spent away from the desk won't be held against them. Otherwise, it will always be considered a company-wide no-no. Implementing these new policies into the HR software network will make them easier for employees to act on and  for supervisors to enforce.