The Benefits of Taking a Break

August 25, 201411:00 am2912 views

Regularly taking time to have a short break and focus on immediacy, of existing in the present moment, helps individuals feel more at ease, contented and peaceful. It also improves productivity, as well as physical and psychological welfare. Numerous scientific studies confirm the benefits of taking regular, short breaks.

Numerous studies have concluded that performance deteriorates after 50 to 60 minutes of continuous work. This trend can be reversed by taking rest breaks every 40 minutes at least. One study found that the use of “micro-breaks” (lasting 20-30 seconds) among data entry workers increased speed, accuracy and performance.

See: 5 Ways to Boost Employee Satisfaction

Physical symptoms like musculoskeletal discomfort, eyestrain and physical tension are reduced immediately after taking rest breaks. These breaks provide relief from the pain and discomfort due to sustained computer use, which affects up to 60 percent of people using computers. Short breaks which include physical activity (i.e. stretching) are more effective than rest breaks.

Interestingly, studies have also found that results are improved when we are reminded to take breaks. Scheduled breaks are generally more effective than leaving workers to to take breaks at their own discretion. Hence the SCDFs strategy of allowing staff (non-operations) personnel to take two scheduled tea breaks at 103 am and 3 pm, in a workday stretching from 8.30 am to 6 pm, is an effective practice aimed at maintaining staff performance and welfare.

The practice of mindfulness is also another beneficial practice. It leads to enhanced performance, an improved sense of well-being, reduced stress and burnout s well as the increased ability to remain calm in difficult work situations.The adoption and practice of mindfulness in workplaces results in:

  • Greater insight, receptivity, balance and clarity for oneself and others
  • Greater leadership presence and authenticity
  • Increased energy and sense of well-being and expands awareness and range of our responses
  • Increased life span, greater creativity and less burnout
  • Improves interpersonal relationships at work

This piece is an abridged version of “Benefits of taking breaks“. Questions or insights? Contact Shiwen at

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