6 smart ways in which an employee can indulge in mid-day breaks

Career Advice
21 Oct 2022

Are you the kind of person who is ashamed of taking multiple coffee or mid-day breaks at office? Do you eat at your desk fearing too much indulgence in taking a calming lunch break? If you are the kind of person who is guilty of such practices at the workplace, it is time to rethink again.

Employees often fail to recognise the multiple benefits of taking meaningful work breaks at regular intervals. Even if these breaks are proven to have both physical and psychological advantages.

On one hand, they increase blood circulation, reduce stress and keep a check on lethargy. On the other hand, taking frequent breaks also enhances retention and productivity of employees.

Here are a few clever ways to make the most of mid-day breaks.

#1. Eat away from your desk

A survey conducted by Tork evaluated lunch breaks of various North American workers in the United States and Canada. The findings reflected how those who took a proper lunch break scored higher on engagement metrics such as job satisfaction and efficiency.

Since the lunch break is the only time interval that allows employees to relax for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, it is important to utilise it well. And eating at the work desk does not categorise well in this regard.

A work desk is necessarily the seat of all possible job related distractions including a buzzing inbox, non-stop calls etc. This means an employee is unlikely to completely detach and unwind, failing to indulge in an actual break that helps. Instead head to the lunchroom, cafeteria or an open space.

#2. Stretch, roll your eyes and take a walk

Simple exercises like stretching arms, flexing legs and rotating the neck can help increase the blood flow in an employee’s body.

This is turn contributes to effective muscle functioning and decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Frequent eye exercises benefits employees who remain glued to computer screens all day.

Taking a post lunch stroll in the nearest park or any green space also works wonders for most employees to focus better.

#3. Socialise during the mid-day break

Socialising efforts must go beyond taking numerous caffeine breaks with the much talked about coffee junkie in your office. Instead, make an effort to check on colleagues you adore, exchange compliments, and discuss weekend plans.

One could also use the free time after a quick lunch to make some personal calls to family and friends. This helps employees save some useful after-work hours which they can use to relax better.

Another tip would be take some time off to use various social media platforms. Try dedicate a specific time during work for these activities instead of getting disturbed by never-ending notifications throughout the day.

#4. Make use of the Pomodoro Technique

Developed by Francesco Cirillo over three decades ago, the Pomodoro Technique is today a much acclaimed time management technique.

It allows employees to divide their tasks into convenient work intervals (each lasting 20-25 minutes). These intervals are all separated by taking small breaks.

The attention span and decision making abilities of an employee are known to taper if he/she is engrossed in a task that demands dedicated focus. Especially, for periods that extend over 45 minutes at a stretch. Hence, taking a micro-break after every pomodoro (interval) can provide constructive results.

#5. Indulge in mindful activities

Using mid-day break time to indulge in mindful activities like reading, meditation and art can stimulate one’s cognitive abilities.

Tasks such as mindfulness colouring, and doodling are proven to reduce stress and calm the mind, thus enabling employees to reconnect with work better. Reading few pages of one’s favourite novel almost always does the trick as well.

Moreover, breathing exercises and mediation are known to restore lost energy of employees through a busy workday. It motivates workers to get back to work with increased concentration.

#6. Stop feeling guilty and reclaim your breaks!

Staples conducted an online survey of more than 200 office workers in the U.S. and Canada. In their findings, they found that more than a quarter of surveyed employees hesitated in taking any breaks other than the designated lunch break.

Furthermore, one in every five employees questioned cited guilt as a primary reason that stopped them form stepping away from their desks. However, with several demonstrated benefits of taking breaks at a workplace, it is futile for employees to feel guilty about the same.

Today, an increasing number of employers are also encouraging their workforce to take adequate breaks. So, it is time for you to go ahead and be fearless in reclaiming your office breaks!

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