Give me a break! Short, regular breaks boost energy levels at work

TIMIȘOARA, Romania — Short regular breaks from work boosts energy levels, new research by scientists in Romania reveals.

Their study finds 10-minute breaks, or “microbreaks,” boost an employee’s vigor and decreases their fatigue throughout the day. Moreover, longer breaks actually increased performance as well as energy levels, according to the team from West University of Timișoara.

The researchers say their findings show microbreaks are a potentially useful strategy to help well-being in the workplace, as heavy workloads and long shifts become increasingly common. The study showed that creative and clerical tasks improved the most after a longer pause. More mentally demanding tasks needed even more time off to positively impact performance.

Until now, many studies looked at how workers can recover after the workday but recovering during the workday remained unclear. Patricia Albulescu from WUT and her team examined 22 studies about microbreaks and their benefits published over the last 30 years.

Participants took a little pause on various tasks, including work simulations, real work-related tasks, and non-work-related cognitive tests. Workers used their time away from their desk doing relaxing activities and more engaging activities, such as watching videos.

Next, the authors want to look at the best activities to do during a break to both improve work performance and well-being.

“Our results revealed that micro-breaks are efficient in preserving high levels of vigor and alleviating fatigue,” the study authors write in the journal PLoS ONE.

South West News Service writer Pol Allingham contributed to this report.

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