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How to get the most out of your breaks

If you’re not one of those workaholics who forego breaks in favour of getting more done, you might wonder how to make the best of a quick escape from your tasks. Two researchers at Baylor University in Texas conducted a study in order to discover the optimum conditions for a work break.

Emily Hunter, PhD and Cindy Wu, PhD surveyed 95 employees of various ages over the course of a five-day workweek, asking them to document their breaks. When they analysed the data, they came up with some ideas for “better breaks” that can help both managers and staff members.

Key findings include:
The best time for a break is mid-morning. Hunter and Wu found that those who took breaks early in the day reported fewer symptoms of poor health than those who waited until the afternoon.

Employees prefer to choose their break activities. Rather than doing something that is assigned to them, the study’s participants felt more refreshed if they did something they enjoyed.

Better breaks lead to improved health and job satisfaction. Those who followed Hunter and Wu’s tips reported better general health – fewer headaches and a reduction in eyestrain and lower back pain. They also said they felt better about their jobs and experienced a decrease in burnout.

Frequent short breaks are better than longer ones. While an exact length of time couldn’t be determined, the research found that those who took more frequent short breaks felt more refreshed throughout the day and recovered more faculties.

Read the results of the study at