Small breaks from work can actually increase your overall productivity
Spending long hours at the office staring at your computer could be an indication of an extreme dedication and hard work. Well, that’s how most conventional bosses judge their subordinates. In reality, taking regular short breaks from your monotonous mental tasks actually increases your productivity. Even the most gifted employee needs to detach themselves from their work and workspace to recharge their batteries. According to recent surveys 1, the human mind tends to lose focus after 50 minutes of intense mental exercise. So if taking breaks isn’t common at your workplace, it’s time you discuss the idea with your boss. To make it more planned and organized, you could schedule breaks through the following mechanisms:
- Marking them onto your calendar
- Jotting them down onto your To-Do list.
- Smartphones contain several downloadable Apps which could act as reminders.
- Find a break buddy – go for a quick tea or coffee. Socializing is by far one of the most effective mechanisms to refresh your brain.
- You could plan several quick one-minute mini-breaks throughout the day such as refilling your water bottle or getting a tea.
Ergonomic seating arrangements- Respite from back pains and sudden medical absence.
A prevalent cause of employee medical leave requests is chronic back-pain. Since most corporate employees tend to spend over 8 hours a day sitting at their desk jobs, it is likely that a bad sitting posture will wreak havoc, and force you to opt for medical absence.
Ergonomic Chairs are very useful in preventing back pain, shoulder pain and provide adequate support to your spine while you work your way to glory. Your boss won’t be particularly pleased if team members are frequently absent owing to repetitive back pain. So choosing an Ergonomic seating arrangement actually helps in increasing employee productivity.
What does an Ergonomic Chair usually have?
- Should have a height adjustable seat, to accommodate employees of all sizes.
- Make sure your thighs are in parallel to the ground.
- Depth (space from the front of the chair to the back) should be good enough.
- How deep the cushion sinks in when sat upon.
- Adjustable lumbar support for both height and depth.
- The chair should provide overall back support.
Stressors outside work – Productivity dampeners
Your boss could be a wonderful human being. Team satisfaction and comfort could be his or her top priority. However, there are chances that an employee could be severely stressed due to factors outside work. Excessive pressure and demands outside work, conflicting requirements at work and family issues could all be valid reasons. In the long run, such stress-related disorders could trigger psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, tension, loss of professional productivity, aggression, etc. These could eventually trigger chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, a decreased immune system, and hypertension.
Common Causes for stress outside work
- Troubled marriages
- Family arguments and fights.
- Divorces and legal battles.
- Loss of financial stability and increase of debt.
- Strained relationship with in-laws.
- Failed long-distance relationship.
- Duty towards ailing dependents such as elderly relatives.
Your boss should be sympathetic enough to tackle such situations as a “temporary phase” rather than branding an individual as “underperformer”. He or she could even consider talking to the employee and jointly plan out an alternative solution that could help the employee perform better at the office.
The Perfect Workload balance – Prevent CHD (coronary heart disease)
It takes time and substantial effort to building up a team of key employees, each excelling in certain skills. It is, therefore, important for a boss to ensure that the employees are healthy and motivated. Unfortunately, critical employees are the ones who are severely stressed out with mounting targets, stringent deadlines, astronomical expectations and long work hours. 7
According to medical researchers 2, working long hours are directly linked with risk of CHD (coronary heart disease) and type 2 diabetes. Stress can also trigger excessive production of adrenaline 3 that spikes up the blood pressure.
So, the key to enhanced performance and productivity is to divide the work so that it doesn’t overburden the employee. One way of dividing the work is to allocate tasks among subordinates depending upon individual past performances. Certain employees work quicker than the others. While some of the employees are quick with analytical tasks, the others could be better repetitive work. The idea is to keep the employees healthy and to keep them motivated.
Office Exercise and Fitness Balls: Keeping your Employees fit
A team can function seamlessly if each of the team members are fit and fresh. You could ask your boss to motivate the team to take fitness breaks rather than repeated coffee or snacks breaks. A brisk walk, simple stretching exercises could be very helpful in reducing mental fatigue. Standing burns more calories than sitting does. Your boss could also introduce the use of a firmly inflated fitness ball instead of the regular chairs. The fitness ball not only improves your overall body balance but also tones your core muscles.
Drinking enough water- keep hydrated
Remember, water is an absolutely indispensable element 4 when it comes to smooth body functioning. Employees usually don’t consume sufficient water, especially on days when the workload is on the higher side. Since employees spend a substantial time of their day at work, the office arrangements should be such that employees have easy accessibility to water and beverage dispensers, fresh fruits and other fresh fruit juices. Proper water balance helps in preventing constipation and kidney stones. Also, it helps in maintaining a proper body temperature. 5
Encourage an email- free Friday
The sedentary lifestyle at most corporate offices is finally taking a massive toll on our health. A brisk 15- minute walk could increase your productivity for next 2 hours. Many corporate organizations have instituted special email-free Fridays 6, wherein employees are encouraged to walk up to cubicles and talk to employees face-to-face rather that shooting across a quick email. The practice may include a little walking around or ‘time wastage’ as some bosses might feel, but the email-free Friday actually helps in increasing employee fitness 6.
In an era of cut-throat competition, it is essential for organizations to implement adequate measures to facilitate a healthy work environment to all employees. A healthy and motivated employee is more productive and useful to the company. Alternatively, employees should be aware of underlying health perils usually associated with sedentary lifestyle. A healthy mind and body are the key to a successful professional career.
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- Wandering mind, not a happy mind [Internet] 2010 [cited 2010 Nov 11] Available from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/wandering-mind-not-a-happy-mind/
- Working long hours linked to higher risk of stroke [Internet] 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 20] Available from: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0815/20082015-working-long-hours-stroke-risk
- Chronic stress puts your health at risk [Internet] 2013 [cited 2013 July 11] Available from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037
- Water – The Fountain of Youth! [The Internet] Available from http://whatscookingamerica.net/HealthBeauty/Water-TheFountainOfYouth.htm
- How Much Water Should You Drink [Internet] 2017 [cited 2017 May 20] Available from: http://www.healthambition.com/water-drink/
- Do You Have Sitting Disease? [The Internet] Available from http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/do-you-have-sitting-disease?page=2
- Today’s Workforce—Pressed and Stressed [The Internet] Available from http://www.workforce.com/articles/today-s-workforce-pressed-and-stressed