When businesses were forced to adjust to social distancing guidelines, many employees found themselves working from home. With the sudden spike in remote employees, companies had one thing in mind: productivity. And while most of us were used to demands of performing, nothing could have prepared most of us to the demands of working during a global pandemic.
Based on a survey conducted in 2019, working from home can lead to working longer hours for most employees, all so that they can prove that they can be productive despite being outside the office. Taking this into consideration plus the looming anxiety of ensuring business continuity during a global pandemic, you might be overexerting yourself. And while keeping yourself productive is important, no good can come from a burnt out employee; you shouldn’t have to go through that and your company definitely won’t benefit from it.
While there are a multitude of sources explaining what you can do in a work from home environment, there’s one simple tip you can easily apply today that could make all the difference: Take Your Break. Although spending time away from your work might seem like the opposite of productivity, studies have found that taking intermittent breaks throughout the day actually keeps you more productive throughout the day. Researchers observed that following a productive break, employees were able to jump back into their tasks seamlessly; they didn’t stop to check their social media or get distracted by checking their emails. The key was when these employees felt fatigue from work, they’d take short breaks where they completely separated themselves from work. What this does is allow employees to refresh and restart their systems for another hour of productive work.
Taking this into consideration you have to remember that there’s a difference between taking a productive break and procrastinating your work. Taking a productive break is all about allowing your mind to rest and recover from the fatigue of being in front of your laptop for long periods of time. So herein lies the big question: How do you achieve a productive break? Here are 3 simple tips you can use to take a proper break.
Schedule Your Breaks
The first step to a productive break, is ensuring that you create time for it. By setting certain times of the day dedicated to your break, you avoid creating excuses to avoid work or completely forgetting to take your break at all. A useful method you can use is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique requires you to take a look at your entire work day and divide into chunks of 25 minutes each, each set separated by a 15 minute break. Seems like a lot of time for a break doesn’t it? The key to this technique is that it manages brain fatigue and ensures that once your break is up, you’re 100% focused and less likely to attempt to distract yourself with other tasks. Through this technique you’re actually tricking your mind into thinking that the work day isn’t endless and that there’s a time for everything, mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed included. Try it out and see if it works for you! When it comes to what you do, you have to ensure that you find what works best for you and your workstyle, what matters most is you take time to make time for your break.
Taking a productive break is all about refreshing your system and preparing your mind and body for your tasks. A great way to ensure this system restart is by practicing some simple stretches. There are a number of simple ergonomic stretches that you can try out to help ease tension buildup and allow you to work more comfortably and efficiently. Depending on the type of workspace you have, be sure to try stretches that address your pain points. Simple stretches and even slight changes in your work position can help transform your workday. Try converting your workspace to aid your space, you can try using standing desk converters to easily transition from sitting to standing positions. Stretching is a great way to release stress and promote blood circulation throughout your body, this not only boosts your immune system, it boosts brain activity as well. You can do 10-15 minute stretches during your breaks and even add simple desk stretches while working.
When it comes to your break it’s important to ensure that you truly take a break. By that what we mean is that during your short breaks its important to remember that separating yourself completely from work is important. If you’re still checking your email or doing anything work related, you’re not really giving yourself the much-needed break you deserve. You can definitely still reply to personal messages, it’s not about ignoring your work, it’s about giving yourself a breather. By disconnecting you allow yourself the opportunity to reconnect with things that matter. Now’s the time to chat with your co-workers on things outside of work, you can even check your social media and personal messages. The key is to take time out of your busy day to separate yourself from work so that you can clear your mind and start fresh once your break time is over.
These are just a couple of ways you can energize yourself with productive breaks. Ultimately the key is ensuring that you avoid burn out and stress. With incremental breaks and these simple tricks you can take your breaks properly and become more productive. Remember, this is about allowing yourself to work better and boosting your mood. For more tips on lifestyle and a healthier lifestyle, feel free to check out the Flexiwellness Center.