Teacher’s Diary

Take your breaks! Diligently, purposefully take your statutory 20-30 minute breaks at work – away from your work table and away from your work mode. Steal away into your very own diffused ‘brain-state where eureka often occur and resolutions to problems are birthed.

I’ve been collating reasons why workers miss or might not take their breaks during work hours. The following were reasons thankfully given to me. Which of them relate to you?
• Finding no time to go on break.
•Not being given breaks at work.
•Being deprived of your break time and given work to complete during your rightful break period.
•Preferring to work your break.
•Missing your slot/allocation.
•Not feeling like going on break.
•Striving to earn a promotion.
•Inability to set limits.
•Needing to complete your tasks.
•Being naturally a perfectionist.
•Having underperforming staff or teammates.
•Negative experiences where delegated tasks have been badly completed.
•Needing to complete an increasing workload.
•Unreasonable and huge deadlines.
•Threats of job-loss.
•Your unit or team is short staffed.
•No one left to do the job.
•Not feeling tired enough to halt for a rest.
•No one else can do the job like you.
•Upping your professionalism.
•Wanting to maintain the reputation of a hard-worker.
•Breaks cause negative cuts in established productive work-momentums.
• Breaks pull the body back into a state of tiredness.
•Breaks are too short anyway – ‘better to just work a long hurl of hours then close and leave for the day.
•Working in a competitive environment.
Employers all over the world have a legal duty to allocate break-time to their staff. Self-employed people are also advised to take regular breaks during their working hours. You should request that your break time duration is stated in your employment contract and see that you take them religiously.

Credible research shows that taking breaks is beneficial to workers’ productivity and well-being.

It is better to take a break in the middle of a seven or eight hour shift than at the beginning or end of it. The benefits of breaks to individuals and the organisations include:
•Maximum productivity.
•Improved creativity.
•Better planning and organisational skills.
•Reduction in near-misses and dangerous occurrences.
•Increase in staff attendance.
•Reduction in sickness and absences.
•Increase in socialisation amongst staff.
•Better stock-taking and review opportunities.
•Higher staff morale and commitment.
•A healthier staff force.
•Less staff turn-over.
•Better bonding amongst staff members.
•Helps to relieve health conditions or symptoms staff might be living with.
•Increases the mental health status of staff members.
•Gives other staff members a chance to role-play other positions.
• Averts job monotony.

Omoru writes from the UK