How Longer Breaks Increase Employee Productivity

As a business owner, you obviously want to get the most out of your employees. After all, you’re the one with the biggest financial stake in the company’s success, and you want to see the biggest possible return on every dollar of salary that you pay. It’s only natural, then, to institute rigorous schedules and limit break time. By imposing a rigid set of work-time standards, though, you could be limiting the productivity of your employees and, in fact, costing yourself huge amounts of money. As odd as it may seem, letting your workers take more breaks could lead to substantially more work getting done.

In polls, more than 85 percent of employees across various industries have expressed the belief that regular work breaks would increase their productivity. Only a quarter of those polled, though, actually take a break besides for lunch. They cite workplace expectations and guilt as the main reasons they don’t take regular breaks.

Mental focus is a lot like a muscle. When you hit the gym and do bicep exercises, you give your biceps some time to rest afterward. An employee who is taking frequent breaks is always fully engaged in their tasks during the time they are working. The end result is that they’re getting more work done in less time, and you get a net gain in productivity.

Not only will your employees be doing more work while they’re at their desks, the quality of their work will improve as well. A lack of mental focus means that your employees are more prone to mistakes and oversights. Every mistake that an accountant or a customer service employee makes could cost your company money. By making sure that your employees are fully engaged while they are at their desks, you’re ensuring a tighter ship with less costly errors.

Allowing your employees to take breaks isn’t just about increasing their workplace satisfaction and productivity, though. Work-related stress is a huge driver of health care costs, and is costing companies hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Giving your employees the freedom to disconnect from work every so often could have a noticeable impact on their health, which could save you literally millions in insurance costs over the years.

It’s no surprise, then, that massively successful companies like Google not only encourage their employees to take breaks, they provide well-stocked break rooms complete with games and other amenities to promote mental health breaks. It’s essential to not only allow employees to take a break when they need one, but to provide an area where they can successfully detach from work. A small investment now in giving your employees an inviting break room could pay huge dividends for years to come in increased overall productivity and reduced health care costs.

When you’re planning an advertising campaign, you don’t just throw every dollar you have into every advertising medium and hope for the best. You do careful planning to figure out who your target demographic is and how to get the most out of every dollar. Adopt a similar strategy for employee management. Instead of expecting your employees to spend every second at their desk, give them the freedom to take breaks. You might be surprised at how much more you get from each employee overall. Sometimes, less really is more. Allowing your employees to stop and smell the roses every now and then could massively boost your productivity and save you huge amounts of money.

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