The company water cooler used to be an iconic space for employees to gather and relax but the obsession with productivity has removed the water cooler and left employees strapped to their desk for eight hours a day. Employers are now realizing that it's time to reinstall the water cooler and encourage employees to take small, frequent breaks not only for their own sanity but for the benefit of the company. These are just five of the dozens of reasons that employers need to actively encourage their employees to take small breaks throughout the day.
Employee engagement is a key tenant of a happy and productive workplace and it doesn't take grand gestures to achieve. In fact, encouraging a sense of community and camaraderie in your workplace is a simple way to engage employees and ensure they feel more invested in the company. Actively encouraging employees to take short breaks to talk with their co-workers and walk around the workplace is a simple and cost-free way to increase employee engagement.
Lean initiatives and employee attrition are just two ways that employers are trying to do more with less and that decrease in employees can cause real stress on those employees that remain. Encouraging employees to periodically step away from their desk and their duties allows them to mentally refresh. The very act of encouraging these breaks reminds employees that while work is important, their own mental well-being is much more important. Even five minutes away from their job duties every two hours can dramatically decrease employee stress.
Short breaks not only impact the employee's mood but also their work habits. When employees are allowed to walk away from their work and recharge, they return more motivated and engaged, leading to higher productivity. Employees need time to recharge and refresh periodically throughout the day to perform at their best. During that short break, employees can either disengage completely by checking personal email or enjoying a cup of coffee, or mentally evaluate the best way to tackle the rest of the day's work. Employees will naturally drift to the type of break that benefits them most and become a better employee because of it.
Everybody has had an experience where they spent way too long looking at a problem only to have a passer-by look at it for a few seconds and come up with the perfect solution. Employees who interact with multiple departments and people are given the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another and find new and innovative solutions for existing problems. Encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day allows for unplanned interactions that ultimately improve workflow and the overall workplace.
Reduce Healthcare Spending
Healthcare spending has been a huge concern to companies in the last few years and employee health incentives have made their way into the workplace to help cut down on healthcare costs overall. One easy way that employers can help that initiative is with small breaks. Sitting for extended periods of time has been linked with deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, poor circulation, achy joints, and even damage to the brain. A short walk around the office throughout the day slashes these risks.
Taking breaks isn't just an employee right; it should be actively encouraged by management for better productivity, happier employees, and more problem-solving. So reinstall the water cooler and tell your employees to take five because those short breaks are not only helping them, but helping your business.