Imagine a typical day at the office.
Some workers come in, check their email, grab a coffee, work, count down the minutes until lunch, work, and count down the minutes until they can leave, then go home. Pretty boring, to say the least, and it’s very easy to lose some or all momentum in this type of environment.
As a small business owner, it is your job to help keep employee morale up.
By keeping your employees happy (and not bored), productivity will increase, therefore benefiting your bottom line.
Productivity Can Decrease Quickly
Studies show that productivity decreases after 50-60 minutes of work.
While employees probably will not be able to get away with taking a break every hour, they should take a mini-break every 50-60 minutes to revamp.
A mini-break could include standing up to stretch, using the restroom, closing their eyes for a minute, checking a personal website or grabbing a snack.
It is recommended that workers take a 30-minute lunch plus two 15-minute breaks. These breaks are actually what will get them through the day and lead small business owners to more productive employees.
By taking breaks, employees will improve their concentration and focus when they are back to working.
Make the office a fun environment where breaks are encouraged instead of frowned upon.
Ideas for what to do on a break include –
1. Take a walk. Ah, nothing says a break more than getting some fresh air outside. Workers can grab a coworker and a coffee and head outside to do a lap or two around the building. Employees come back refreshed and ready to tackle more tasks for the day.
2. Grab a snack. For those workers feeling tired and unable to focus, grab a healthy snack to boost brain power and beat the afternoon slump. This does not involve talking chips or donuts from the vending machine, but instead grabbing a handful of almonds, an apple with peanut butter or yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola. Prepare these snacks in advance and store in a desk or in the break room.
Tip – If all else fails, have a small cup of caffeinated coffee to get folks through their day.
3. Play a game. Those in charge can make themselves the coolest boss by allowing their team to play games during breaks. Employees can play a quick round of basketball, have a trivia match in the conference room or play Nintendo. Retailers such as Walmart carry Nintendo games that one can set up in the office for some laughs and competition.
4. Stretch. This goes hand in hand with going for a walk, but it is proven that exercise helps concentration and will improve a mood. If you can, provide a workout room in your office for employees. They can go for a run on the treadmill if it is too cold outside, lift weights or ride the bicycle while catching up on their favorite book. If you are unable to provide employees with a full-on workout room, encourage them to stretch at their desks or during their lunch.
Typically, employers are afraid of getting too flexible with breaks because they fear the employees will get less work done.
Usually, it is the opposite.
Try encouraging your employees to take at least two breaks per day, in addition to their lunch, for a month and see if productivity increases.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including small businesses and personal finance.