4 Advantages of Microbreaks and How to Use Them at Work

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  • 21 Jul 2023
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There was a time when smoking breaks were considered normal. Nonsmokers must have been irritated to see their coworkers take many breaks throughout the day while they slaved away.

But maybe they were onto something. Microbreaks are becoming more popular in businesses, and for good reason.

The human body is a complicated machine, yet it is not built with chips and circuits. But what humans have in common with computers is that we eventually burn out. This is where sleep comes in: it resets our bodies and replenishes our vitality.

In recent years, numerous advances have been achieved in the study of health and neurochemistry, as well as how they affect productivity.

The 4 Benefits of Microbreaks

Microbreaks are a great method to reset your brain and rejuvenate your body. A few minutes of your time can have a disproportionately large influence on your productivity.

According to studies, the four key advantages of microbreaks are as follows.

1. It Improves Your Concentration

Without rest or breaks, our capacity to concentrate plummets rapidly. Allowing people to take microbreaks while watching a city scene with a floral meadow green roof has been shown in studies to improve their sustained attention.

People who take microbreaks had lesser omission errors and are more consistent in responding to tasks provided to them.

2. It Reduces Stress

The number one productivity killer is stress. It interferes with all we do. It disrupts concentrated work and makes us more prone to errors.

Furthermore, stress can have a negative impact on work morale and commercial connections. According to research, stress is bad for an employee's morale, motivation, and performance. It also has a detrimental impact on their job happiness.

3. It Increases Happiness

Happiness, on the other hand, is the number one productivity booster. When we are joyful, everything appears to be easy.

It's easy to see why people's productivity rises on Friday afternoons. Why? Because they are looking forward to the weekend and are able to complete tasks faster than the rest of the week.

Happy employees dispute less, are more efficient, are more self-sufficient, and are a pleasure to be around. According to research, microbreaks have a direct favorable effect on employee performance.

4. It Helps You to Avoid Injuries

Lower back pain is fairly prevalent, particularly as we become older. More than 80% of people will suffer from back discomfort at some point in their lives. Furthermore, many of these folks will suffer from back discomfort as a result of their working conditions.

Because of a lack of mobility, our muscles suffer considerably as we age. Unless they are excellent athletes, people in their teens or twenties rarely complain about back problems. After twenty years, it's amazing how many individuals have thrown out their backs or suffered from sciatica.

How to Use Your Microbreaks at Work

It is not sufficient to have microbreaks. You should understand how to make use of these breaks to get the most out of them.

Here are four things you can do during your work microbreaks.

1. Stand-Sit-Stretch Pattern

The sit-stand-stretch pattern is the ideal method to organize work, according to Alan Hedge, a professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell University's College of Human Ecology and director of Cornell's Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory.

It divides the workday into 30-minute cycles of 20 minutes sitting, eight minutes standing, and two minutes standing and moving, which includes stretching and walking.

Stretching can be as simple as going for a brief walk or doing some yoga poses that focus on your lower back. Hedge also emphasizes the need of maintaining appropriate posture while sitting and standing.

2. The 20/20/20 Eye Microbreak

In a clubhouse meeting about productivity, I overheard someone mention his optometrist's 20/20/20 exercise. The idea is to move us away from our computers.

We must look at least 20 meters away for around 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This simple practice significantly lowers eyestrain, which is all too typical in our digital age.

People jump from their laptops to their iPads to their iPhones and sometimes even their televisions, never allowing their eyes to rest. After incorporating this practice into my daily routine, I can confirm that it is beneficial for reducing eyestrain.

3. Microstretches

Yoga is a blessing. It releases a variety of chemicals and hormones into the bloodstream, so it's best to do it before beginning your workday.

A 20-minute yoga session can help both your body and mind. It is, however, nonetheless advised to supplement it with some basic stretches to maintain our bodies limber and energized.

Here are some micro stretches to incorporate into your regular routine.

4. Brain Breaks

Our brain can only hold so much information at once. According to research, our performance and ability to complete tasks have diminishing returns over time.

According to productivity guru Darren Hardy, after 90 minutes of concentrated labor, there are diminishing returns. He discusses how Steve Jobs committed three 90-minute sessions to create each of his major successes—the iPod, iPhone, and iPad—in his program, Insane Productivity. Breaks allow us to recharge our batteries and avoid mental fog.

Brendon Burchard, best-selling author and creator of High-Performance Academy, believes that hourly breaks are the key to his seemingly limitless energy.

Final Thoughts

Workplace stress manifests itself in both the physical and mental domains. If we want to unleash our productivity, we must discover strategies to release the tension that accumulates during the day.

Microbreaks are an easy method to accomplish this without having to develop a time-consuming fitness plan. As you can see, you have the option of taking 20-minute, 30-minute, 52-minute, or 90-minute breaks. However, keep in mind that the longer the session, the longer the break must be.

Take a microbreak whenever you sense a loss in energy or a tightness in your back, and you'll notice a significant improvement in concentration, energy, and productivity.

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