Most people leave their workstations only to have lunch, go to the bathroom, or discuss work with a colleague. They're in front of their computers or hunched over a pile of files for several hours every day. It's no wonder they're so exhausted, physically and mentally, by the time it's finally time to go home.
When we say breaks, your mind will wander to 15 to 20 minutes breaks you take in between work to have coffee or lunch or simply chat with a friend for a while. But you can only take one or maybe 2 of these breaks during the day because you've got work to do. Some days, you can't even spare 15 minutes between work. And when you're that busy, you'll naturally feel irritable, edgy, and frustrated.
If the nature of your job is such that you can't afford to take long breaks between work, you should consider taking microbreaks. These are mere 5-minute short breaks. Now, you may think, what good does a 5-minute break do? You'll be surprised to know that the same 5-minute break whose significance you're downplaying can make your day at work so much better! It's not us that say so, but it's research that vouches for microbreaks' benefits!
If you still can't wrap your head around the fact that a microbreak can help you with work-related exhaustion, you should read this blog post thoroughly. We've covered everything you may want to know, from the many benefits to how to start!
What are Microbreaks?
Microbreaks are exactly what the name suggests; extremely short breaks while you're at work. They can be as short as 30 seconds and can extend over as much as 5 minutes. You could take a microbreak to just stretch at your desk or take a quick walk to the kitchen to have a glass of fresh water, or to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face.
Microbreaks don't just help you break the monotonous routine of performing the same tasks but also ensure that you aren't sitting in the same posture throughout the day. Periodic movements while you're at work are extremely important. They ensure your muscles don't get stiff from all the sitting and also prevent your body from undergoing extensive stress. If you don't take microbreaks and stay seated in your office chair for several hours straight, you'll put your body at a higher risk of fatigue, muscle degeneration, and in worst cases, Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).
The Benefits of Microbreaks during the Workday
When we say you'll be surprised to know the plethora of benefits that microbreaks have got to offer, we aren't kidding. We've compiled some of the most prominent benefits of microbreaks during work, so you better be prepared to have your mind blown – of surprise!
Enhanced Focus and Productivity
Now, how can a break as short as 5 minutes enhance focus and productivity at work? Research suggests that taking microbreaks can really improve your focus and boost your productivity. You might assume that breaking this short will only distract you, but the effect is the opposite in reality.
If you continue to work non-stop during the day, a point will come when your brain will get exhausted, and you won't be able to focus on your work as well as you should. This would result in reduced performance and poor quality of work.
However, when you take short breaks, even if it's to stretch, you'll be able to maintain a constant level of productivity throughout the day. Short breaks prevent the desensitization of the brain that can happen if you keep performing the same tasks for extended periods. Microbreaks basically help your brain reengage on the task at hand after the attention drops. It won't be wrong to say that microbreaks help you restore your attention!
When you're working all day long, you're bound to feel extremely stressed without taking any breaks. Work-related stress is a real thing. The majority of working people accept that they suffer from chronic stress due to work.
However, if you take periodic short breaks between work, your body will get a chance to relax. Your heart rate will drop, which is an indication of reduced stress. When the stress levels reduce, you'll automatically feel more focused on your work, and with that, the probability of you making errors will be greatly reduced too.
Next time you feel like you're losing it, stop working, take a deep breath, take a microbreak to look out the window at the lush green office landscape or the passing cars, and then return to work. You'll feel the difference yourself!
Reduced Risk of Musculoskeletal Disorders
As we said earlier, sitting in the same posture or working in awkward positions for extended periods puts your body under excessive stress, particularly the muscles, joints, and soft tissues. The risk of work-related injury is much higher if you are working in poor ergonomic conditions.
While you can't do much to change the nature of your job (you've got to sit in front of the computer for 8 hours, sorry), what you can do is prevent the development of MSDs. While Pro Plus Standing Desk (E7) can help you reduce the risk of reducing the risk of MSDs, microbreaks are the simplest and the easiest way to prevent the onset of MSD symptoms. When you take short breaks to stretch or walk around for a few minutes, you're actually protecting your muscles and the body from the consequences of poor ergonomics.
Taking microbreaks to stretch or walk will help restore the blood circulation to the parts of the body that have been sitting idle for a long time. This reduces the risk of muscle fatigue and, thereby, reduces the risk of MSDs.
Reduces Eye Strain
If your job requires you to sit in front of your computer screen all day long, you may already have started to feel the consequences; headache and heaviness in the eyes. That's eye strain. The glare from the computer screen can lead to eye strain. If you don't do something about reducing eye strain, it can lead to weak eyesight and blurry vision.
Taking microbreaks allows you to break free from the glare of your computer screen. This reduces the eye strain significantly. As a basic rule, look out the window at a 20-feet distance for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to keep eye strain to a minimum.
Where to Begin?
You may promise yourself to take a short break every 20 minutes, but before you know it, 3 hours would have passed with you not having taken any breaks at all. It's normal to get engrossed in work and lose track of time. So, the question is; where to begin?
The answer is simple. Start today. Schedule your breaks so that you don't miss them. Set reminders or timers, and no matter how busy you may be, don't miss the break. It's only going to help you perform better – we promise!
You can either set timers or reminders on your phone or install apps that'll remind you to do what's pending.
Some ways you can utilize your microbreaks include:
1. Stretch at your workstation. You don't have to leave your desk. If you can leave your desk, that's even better. Nothing feels better than a quick full-body stretch at work!
2. Utilize your microbreak to sort your drawers. Not only will your mind wander off work for a while, but every time you look at your organized workstation, you'll feel good!
3. Take a quick walk outdoors. If that's not possible, walk over to the Vendi and grab a quick drink!
4. Do some breathing exercises. This will help you when you're close to important deadlines and getting serious panic attacks. Breathing exercises will help you relax and focus on your work much better.
5. If you're utilizing your microbreak to look out your office window, try to focus on the greenery. According to research, the green color has a calming effect. You'll feel like your nerves are settling back in place, and the anxiety is wearing down.
You see, you can begin anywhere! There's no hard and fast rule as to where to begin with your microbreaks. The idea isn't about what you do during your break, but it's all about taking that break. You can utilize your short break to do anything at all!
There's no denying the fact that chronic work-related pressure can create roadblocks to productivity and relaxation. You might think that dedicating all your time in the office working will help you deliver the best results when it's actually something that may be keeping you from giving your best. If you often feel like you're losing your calm and on the verge of breaking down, know that all you need is a 5-minute microbreak!