Study reveals short breaks improve performance at work

Targets, deadlines, back-to-back meetings and, if you’re lucky, a hurried sandwich at your desk for lunch. And you wonder why you feel exhausted?

Prolonged periods of stress is leading to a significant increase in employees experiencing burnout; reveals a survey by Statista, where 79% of people said they frequently feel workplace stress. A new study reveals short breaks can  improve wellbeing and performance at work.

Short breaks improve wellbeing and performance

Taking short breaks in the workplace; from a few seconds, up to 10minutes help to reduce fatigue, increase energy and improve focus.

Patricia Albulescu, the lead author of the research from the West University of Timişoara in Romania, and her team, analysed data from 19 articles, covering 22 separate studies, and a total of 2,335 participants, involving students and employees.

The data is gathered from a wide range of sources from ergonomic scholars to organisational and experimental psychology and looks at the physical, mental and emotional impact short breaks can have on health and performance in the workplace.

One study from Applied Ergonomics focussed on the effect of taking micro-breaks to avoid the onset of physical health problems in areas such as the spine, wrist or fingers. Whilst another study from Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that when the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate returned to the baseline level, a full recovery of the cardiovascular system was achieved.

No optimal time is confirmed as clear from the data, but it was accepted by the team that a micro-break could be classed from a few seconds, up to 10minutes.

What it means for you and your staff

High stress affects performance in a number of ways, it can impede decision making and cause low moods and fatigue. You can read more about the symptoms and signs of stress here.

By encouraging regular micro breaks; the time it takes to make a brew, go to the restroom or have a conversation with a colleague, it can provide the body a period of time to recover from stress.

The results revealed that micro-breaks had a small but positive effect on participants, suggesting about 64% of a group taking micro-breaks would score above the mean of the control group both for vigour and fatigue.


How you take your break matters

The study revealed that how you spend your break can have an impact on how your body responds. Different activities affect the body in different ways.

  • Physical movement = increase in positivity and a decrease in tiredness
  • Watching a video clip = increased performance
  • Talking to other people = increased vitality

The study reveals short breaks, of up to 10 minutes taken during the working day, can help improve wellbeing and performance at work. the team identifies a longer break, of up to 15 minutes, has a greater impact on reducing stress. Particularly where an individual has been focusing on a task that requires a higher level of concentration.

How the YOLO Experience supports recovery

Let us set the scene.

Heavy workload, stressed and feeling fatigued. No time for a break!

Yet when you step away from the workplace and into the YOLO Calm Space; are welcomed with a smile and heated pad on the shoulders, you’ll feel yourself begin to relax into the chair.

We’ll explain the treatment and enquire about your physical and mental health and following the consultation we’ll offer you a choice of escape…

Choose from three relaxing nature videos. Watch the sun going down over the ocean, whilst the waves lap the shore…Fly through the mountains as free as a bird, or enjoy the calming effects of water and nature.

Then in just 15 minutes we will treat you to a head, neck, and shoulder massage with guided breathing techniques to help you reach a place of deep relaxation, where you can consciously feel the physical and mental tension releasing in your upper body.

100% of people who have experienced YOLO and provided feedback said it improved their mood. Over 90% also said it increased their energy levels; reduced their stress and improved their performance. See all our feedback here.

If you would like to find out how we can help your teams perform at their best contact us here or call 01772 283139.

Take a break to improve wellbeing and performance

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