Breaks at work
Wellness Hub

Breaks at work, how much of them do we need?

door Floris Biesemans op Feb 16, 2023

During our busy lives, it is not unusual to be constantly busy, both at work and elsewhere. Many people feel they have to keep working without taking breaks to get their tasks done, thinking this is the only way to be productive. But what we often forget is that our brains need a break to keep performing. Concentration problems and fatigue are common problems in the workplace, and can lead to decreased productivity and even burnout. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of breaks at work and how they can help improve concentration.

The ideal break

In general, there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure that your break will work optimally and get you back to work full of energy.
Things you should do better during a break:
  • Take a break of at least 10-15 minutes. This is the minimum time you need to give your brain a chance to relax and restore your concentration.
  • Get away from your workstation. By leaving your workplace, you can physically and mentally separate yourself from your work and give your brain a chance to rest and recover.
  • Do something you enjoy and find relaxing. This can range from taking a walk, having a chat with colleagues, listening to music, to reading a book, playing a game, or anything else you enjoy doing.
  • Eat a healthy snack and drink water. By eating healthy and staying hydrated, you can restore your energy and focus.
Things better not to do during a break:
  • Checking your phone or laptop. This can reactivate the brain and disrupt the moment of rest.
  • Engaging in discussions that may be stressful or stressful. This can disrupt relaxation and even lead to more stress.
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol. Although some people use these substances to relax, they can significantly disrupt concentration and make you less alert.

Pausing for too long

It is certainly possible to take too long a break at work. Taking too long a break can cause you to get out of your workflow and can result in a loss of momentum and productivity. Therefore, it is important to plan and manage your breaks responsibly.
It is generally recommended that you take breaks of 10 to 15 minutes to give your brain time to relax and recover. Breaks of 30 minutes to an hour can also be helpful if you have had an extended period of intense work. However, it's important not to distract yourself and make sure you don't take long breaks, as this can lead to distractions and reduced productivity.
If you find that you are struggling to pick up your work again after a break, this may be a sign that you have paused too long. It can also help to set a clear break time and use an alarm to remind you when it's time to get back to work. By managing breaks in this way, you can ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of breaks at work while maintaining productivity.

Number of breaks in a workday

For an 8-hour workday, it is generally recommended that you take at least two short breaks and one longer break to maintain your energy and concentration throughout the day.
The exact duration and frequency of these breaks may vary depending on the nature of your work and your individual preferences. For example, some people find it helpful to take a short break of 10-15 minutes every two hours and, in addition, a longer break of 30-60 minutes midway through the day.
It all depends on individual needs and the requirements of your job. For example, if you have a job that requires you to stand a lot or do physically demanding work, you may need more frequent and longer breaks to rest and refuel energy.
It is recommended that you consult with your employer about break schedules and make sure you have enough time to take breaks and maintain your energy and concentration levels throughout the day.

Do you have concentration problems? Then be sure to read our blog I have concentration problems, now what?

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