As the weekend dawns upon us, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about break time as everyone needs a break from whatever it is you’re doing.

Not only can nobody withstand hours upon hours of doing the same thing every day but it is also not healthy.

Hence why break time was invented, some go on a coffee run, others get food, some workout; or just walk around the office until they feel ready to return to their work.

Researchers wanted to find out which one of these ways of taking a break are actually better than the other in a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which was conducted at the Baylor University by Drs Emily Hunter and Ciny Wu.

They surveyed 95 employees aged 22 to 67 which took place over a five-day work week.

Participants were asked to document all the times they took a break during their workdays; they defined breaks as “any period of time, formal or informal, during the workday in which work-relevant tasks are not required or expected, including but not limited to a break for lunch, coffee, personal email, or socializing with co-workers, not including bathroom breaks.”

A whopping 959 surveys were analysed, amounting to two breaks a day per person but researchers also found some interesting things.

Best time to take a break?

Mid-morning would be the most optimal time to take your break –“breaking up the monotony of working hard throughout the morning replenishes energy, concentration, and motivation of employees and managers.”

Hunter and Wu, also added that employees should take “better breaks” by including activities that they like doing, however this does not mean that you do not enjoy work as they also found that work-related activities can also lead to better breaks.

It is strongly linked to better health and increased job satisfaction. Participants reported that after their mid-morning break, they experienced less signs of headaches, somatic symptoms, eyestrain and lower back pain.

How long should your break be?

According to Medical Daily, “Hunter and Wu found that longer breaks were fine but it was also beneficial to take frequent shorter breaks.”

Sources: Medical Daily, Journal of Applied Psychology

Alice Paulse