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Why Taking A Break At Work Is So Important

In a workplace culture that is getting busier and busier, employees are ignoring lunch breaks to complete their tasks in time. However, could this be affecting our productivity and even our health?

Here are 4 reasons you should take a break at work.

  1.  We are less productive without breaks. It is fair to say that when you are on a roll with a particular task, you just want to keep going. However, eventually the tank runs out of fuel. A break will help you refocus, approach the task in a new way and may even inspire you.
  2. Breaks allow your brain to rest. Resting physically and mentally will revive you for the next part of your day, allowing you to work at your optimum level.
  3. Work smart, not hard. Working at an optimum level for a shorter period of time has been proven to be better than working at only half capacity for a long period of time.
  4. Ignoring your break can affect your health. Working for long periods of time has been scientifically proven to lead to heart disease, diabetes, stress related disease and repetitive strain injuries.
Maintaining your mental and physical health in the workplace is essential to avoid workplace injury. A recent WorkSafe Victoria study into 500,000 WorkHealth checks has found astounding facts about the Victorian workforce over 3 years. The study found:
  • Those in agriculture, forestry and fishing industries were high smokers
  • Manufacturing workers were more at risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight gain
  • 40% of Victorians drank at risky levels
  • 18% of Victorians smoked
  • 24% of Victorians had high blood pressure
  • 23% of Victorians were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Blue collar workers are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol at a high level, have a high risk of type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure and have a high risk of heart disease than white collar workers.
Monash University’s study into 15-minute health checks on Victorian workers between April 2009 and April 2015 also found concerning data.

Men were almost 4 times more likely than women to have an intermediate to high risk of cardiovascular disease. While, women were more likely to have a waist circumference bigger than 80cm. Worryingly, 90% of workers didn’t have the recommended daily serve of fruit and vegetables, while 70% of employees said they did inadequate exercise.

So what are some activities you can do on your break to boost your productivity and look after your health?

  • Take a walk – will increase blood flow to the brain improving memory and cognitive performance.
  • Daydream – daydreaming leads to creativity
  • Eat – great brain boosting foods to have on your break include fish, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, avocado, blueberries, wholegrains and raw carrots.
  • Read – fiction books allow you to understand different type of people and situations, it is a great way to practice seeing a situation from another perspective.
  • Get a coffee – for people who get up between 6am and 8am, the optimal time for coffee is between 9.30am and 11.30am and 1.30pm and 5.30pm.
  • Listen to music – music has been proven to improve motor and reasoning skills.
  • Talk to coworkers – this is a productive way to break, as you can talk about any issues you may be having, get advice and de-stress.
  • Plan something fun – use your break to plan a fun activity in your social time.
  • Have a look online – do some online shopping, watch cute videos or scroll through Facebook.
  • Exercise – many organisations have fitness groups which meet at lunch to exercise. This is a great way to stay motivated in your fitness goals.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: November 29, 2015.

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