Yes, it is like I’m shouting using all caps, because it’s that important. Here’s why –

  1. Study after study shows that employees who take regular breaks have a proven better performance level, reduced stress levels and have reduced animosity toward other employees who do take breaks.
  2. Smokers take breaks more often than non-smokers by nearly 30%. Does this cause friction? It can, when one group feels that another group receives more opportunity to take breaks, it can result in some feelings of unfair treatment.
  3. Decision fatigue can increase stress and decrease productivity. Taking just a 10-minute break every two to three hours has been shown to decrease the accumulation of physical and psychological fatigue. Yes, take your lunch break and use that 30 minutes to really revive and refresh.
  4. Employees report having stronger motivation to complete large projects or prolonged activities when they take regular breaks.
  5. Changing the scenery during your break will offer enhanced positive results. Take a walk around the block, stand outside and enjoy the fresh air or go listen to some music in your car. A change in the environment can assist the brain in resting and changing gears from work mode.
  6. Many states require breaks. To find out if your state is included – check out this guide that breaks down laws by state requirements.
  7. Stretching during your break can reduce some of the stiffness and the potential for repetitive task injuries – plus, it just feels good!
  8. Speak with your manager to find out if taking breaks is “frowned upon” or seen as not being fully committed to the job. Retention of team members, by considering their total well-being, is essential in assisting everyone in the workplace to continue to be effective in their position.
  9. Lunch is a must do – we are human beings who need to have energy, stay hydrated and consider our well-being as a valuable tool in helping our patients.

What can you do to implement break taking as a manager or owner?

  • Encourage breaks, let team members know that you want them to take their breaks.
  • Make sure smokers and non-smokers get breaks.
  • Schedule a time for breaks and assure your staffing pattern supports it.
  • Have team members track their breaks and review that information with the team to reinforce your commitment.
  • Lead the charge – let the team know that you take breaks as well.
  • Make it part of your culture – let potential new employees know that breaks are part of their day.
  • Put snacks in the team lounge – such as fresh fruit, energy bars and drinks – making them available for all team members. All you ask is that they sit down, take a break and enjoy their snack. By the way, on the list of benefits that increases employee retention is having snacks available at the business. No really! Just ask Google.

If you aren’t encouraging breaks, then it’s time to go from broken to breaks.


Sheila Grosdidier, SCP
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