“Do something nice for yourself today. Find some quiet, sit in stillness, breathe. Put your problems on pause. You deserve a break.” ― Akiroq Brost
Do you feel tired at the workplace often, and your productivity has taken a blow of late?
Are you working without taking the required number of breaks, reeling under the never-ending pressure to deliver tasks and projects within set deadlines?
If your reply to the aforementioned questions is an affirmative “yes”, then you are not alone in the melee.
A recent report from Indeed found that 52% of all employees are feeling burned out, which is 9% more from a pre-COVID survey. Does shifting to remote work from in-office work has anything to do with this spike? It’s a strong possibility.
Statistics on remote workers reveal that more than 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States. And this figure is likely to shoot up further. As work from home (WFH) becomes a new normal, a large number of remote workers are now working for longer as compared to often fixed in-office work schedules.
Pro Tip: Micro-breaks, lunchtime breaks, and longer breaks have all been shown to have a positive relationship with well-being and productivity.
And it’s not just that only remote workers work overtime without taking an adequate number of breaks. Many in-office workers also tend to work longer without giving themselves enough time to take a well-deserved pause.
Working overtime, without taking a breather, is never a good idea for any working professional. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that taking an all work-no rest approach at work brings with it a series of problems.
Let’s take a look at some negative effects of working without an adequate number of pauses.
5 Negative Effects Of Taking Inadequate Breaks At Work
Leaving aside seemingly simple and straightforward tasks, if you try to perform any challenging activity without taking rest in between, your body (and mind) will eventually reach the point of potential burnout. That’s the reason why using a pomodoro timer can be immensely helpful for people who tend to work for longer periods of time with intervals that are too short.
Let’s have a look at the negative effects of taking too little or no rest at work.
1. Fatigue. Do you feel tired all the time? Working without taking any or little pause as you strive to hit a deadline will eventually lead to you feeling fatigued most of the time, or worse, all the time. You can have sleeping issues and the lack of adequate sleep would again make you cranky and tired than usual the next day.
2. Risk Of Back Pain And Shoulder Ache. This is one of the most common problems faced by many workers today. Sitting in the same posture for a long time can cause pain in the neck, lower back, and shoulders, which can aggravate over a period of time.
3. Excessive Stress. While some stress is the part and parcel of the contemporary work environment, excessive work-related stress can take its toll on your health. Excessive stress can lead to several diseases, like diabetes, depression, strokes, high blood pressure, etc.
4. Lower Productivity. You work for longer hours, minimizing your rest time, to deliver more or increase productivity. Do you know that this would slowly (and surely) lead to low productivity due to an exhausted body and mind?
5. Poor Decision-Making. When your mind and body are deprived of adequate rest, it hampers your decision-making. There are chances that when you’re tired, you might make hasty, illogical decisions, which can have serious consequences for you, your team, and the organization.
Overworked, stressed-out employees are likely to register a sharp decline in their performance, which is an ominous sign for any organization. The aforementioned hazards highlight the importance of allocating a certain time to regular, scheduled breaks at work.
Now, let’s move on to discover how having a fine work-rest balance helps you in more ways than you can imagine.
Five Crucial Benefits Of Taking Frequent Pauses At Work That You Cannot Ignore
While we are stressing on taking frequent breaks at work to improve overall performance, it should be noted that the frequency of your intervals at work depends on the type of tasks you’re working on.
Generally, the longer and complex tasks call for more effort, more time, and the use of advanced tools from your workforce. Such tasks can also be stressful. So, it’s important to take a short rest (regularly) to give yourself a brief respite and come back to work with a renewed zeal.
On the other hand, relatively straightforward tasks can usually be performed without giving special attention and extra effort. So, you don’t need to take a breather often, like you need to do when doing more complicated tasks.
Moving to the point, taking rest (for a short time) from work has been found to bring multiple benefits to employees. Let’s find out more about them.
1. Allows You To Reflect On Your Work Style. Working continuously on a single task can make you so engrossed that you do not even have time to assess your working style. There are chances that you might continue to make mistakes because you did not evaluate your work. On the other hand, taking pauses allow you to reflect on the work you’re doing and your approach to it. In your free time, you might as well be able to identify some loopholes and rectify them, which will improve your efficiency as well as performance.
2. Reduces The Possibility Of Injuries. It’s not uncommon for employees to lose focus and concentration when they work for prolonged periods of time without taking adequate breaks. Depending on the nature of work, even a seemingly small lapse in concentration can result in a fatal injury or worse. For example, a bus driver on a long journey can easily become tired due to continuous, exhausting driving. As a result, he/she may fall asleep while driving, which can result in a terrible accident.
3. Reduces Stress. Stress has become a common issue in the modern-day workforce. However, excessive and constant stress can be disastrous for your health and other aspects of your life. It’s important to take frequent breaks from the incessant, mounting pressure of work. Such breaks would help you shift your attention away from work, and indulge in relaxing activities, which will help you alleviate stress and improve focus on work.
4. Boosts Your Creativity. Have you ever noticed how it’s during your free/break time that your mind is able to come up with creative ideas/solutions when you struggled to find them while at work? Taking a few well-timed breaks will give your mind a much-needed space to organically find the solutions you’ve been looking for.
5. Increases Productivity. Research has shown that briefly taking our minds off the work can enable us to return to work with more focus and motivation. We are able to shrug off procrastination, fatigue, and exhaustion to put in more effort, which eventually leads to an increase in productivity.
The Final Word
Breaks are essential. Whether you do simple tasks or complex ones, your mind and body need to relax after a certain point. Only when your mind and body align, you would be able to be more productive and efficient.
That said, breaks are not just about having tea/coffee or checking your social media accounts. You can use your breaks wisely by doing activities like meditation, yoga, exercise, playing outdoor/indoor games, etc. This will help you to maintain a fine work-life balance.
So, try to divide your work into phases, followed by short/long breaks. This is the best way, to be honest, and committed to your work without compromising on your well-being. Good luck.
About the author:
Vartika Kashyap is the Chief Marketing Officer of ProofHub — a task management software loved by thousands of teams and businesses across the globe. A noteworthy personality in the global marketing community, Vartika has been a regular contributor to platforms like Business2community, DZone, and Business.com. When not donning a marketing hat, she likes to draft spirited write-ups on team collaboration and productivity.
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