‘It’s very hard to concentrate for a full 5 hours at a time. None of us can do that,’ HR consultant says

Taking breaks from work not only boost workers’ well-being, but it also increases their performance while on the job, according to new research out of Simon Fraser University (SFU).

In a review of 83 studies, all but one of which were peer reviewed, researchers found that breaks of 10 minutes or more can decrease stress and fatigue — two things that hinder workplace productivity.

Zhanna Lyubykh, lead author on the review and assistant professor of management and organization studies at SFU said there’s not necessarily a particular type of break that makes people more or less effective at work — it’s all about how much the individual enjoys the break.

Having a snack, taking a quick nap, going for a walk or chatting with coworkers about anything other than work are some ways people recharge during the work day.

“My favourite is a break with a therapy dog,” Lyubykh said.

Even something as simple as a break to check social media — something 97 per cent of people reported doing — can have benefits, although research found that while it boosted engagement at work, it actually decreased creativity, Lyubykh said.

In B.C., employers are not required by law to provide coffee breaks — but a 30-minute unpaid meal break when someone works more than five hours in a row is required.


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