You’ve tried company retreats, training seminars, and reorganized your company structure, but nothing seems to increase employee productivity. Have you tried taking a break? It might seem counterintuitive, but studies show that frequent, satisfying breaks actually increase productivity. Rather than schedule time on costly training sessions, you may be able to transform your work environment by simply rethinking your employee break policy and perfecting your breakroom.
Providing complimentary coffee for your employees is one of the simplest ways to increase employee productivity and satisfaction. In a 2008 study, 61% of employees said they feel their employers care about their well-being if they provide hot beverages. In fact, one study showed that 37% of employees would prefer free, daily fresh gourmet beverages such as coffee and tea rather than an annual holiday party. Coffee has been shown to reduce the number of mistakes at work and improve workers’ memory and concentration.
While breakroom coffee has the bad reputation of being burnt and less than delicious, modern coffee dispensers have revolutionized the breakroom brew. Keurig machines allow for a fresh cup of coffee at the press of button. With the popularity of designer coffee houses, employee tastes have evolved to include complicated coffee orders. These types of personalized beverage machines allow employees to enjoy everything from iced tea to mocha lattes without leaving the office.
We’ve mentioned the importance of keeping healthy snacks on hand in the workplace. If you want the best output from your employees, they need to be fueled up with wholesome, nutrient-dense food. Consider ordering a box of local fruit and veggies every week for the breakroom. A study showed when employees were provided fruit free or at 50% of the cost, 96% of employees ate fruit daily. For more storable items, think instant oatmeal packets, mixed nuts, and light popcorn.
“Break” is a taboo word to many employers. In today’s economy, many companies want to suck as much work as possible out of an 8-hour shift. However, studies show that short breaks throughout the day actually increase overall productivity and quality of work. Whether you take 30 seconds to stand and stretch, 1 minute to check Facebook, or 2 minutes to walk around the office, you will increase your productivity. Check out this great infographic for some statistics on the importance of breaks.
Many companies block sites like Facebook and Twitter to prevent social media “distractions,” despite research showing employees are 10% more efficient when they can check social media regularly. As the numbers of smokers decrease, employees may be improving their health, but losing their 10 minute break. Unless specifically told to do so by employers, workers are not taking the breaks necessary to maintain top quality performance.
Here are some simple ideas to encourage breaks from eight hours of sitting at a work station: