Build a healthier workforce by asking employees to take regular breaks

To meet deadlines, employees are not taking enough breaks to alleviate the stress and fatigue they are facing at work.
By: | March 20, 2023

Employees are not taking regular breaks despite wanting to because of the pressure to get everything done on time.

This is causing high levels of stress, fatigue, and poor performance among employees, said researchers from the University of Waterloo, who also encouraged managers to improve employee wellbeing and performance.

Contrary to the belief that breaks are unproductive, employees who take breaks do so to maintain focus and achieve high levels of performance, said Dr Vincent Phan, first author of a study titled, Why Do People (Not) Take Breaks? An Investigation of Individuals’ Reasons For Taking and for Not Taking Breaks at Work, which examined the impact of breaks on employee wellbeing and performance.

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During the study, the researchers surveyed 107 employees about their reasons for taking a break and not taking one. They also surveyed 287 employees twice daily over five days about their sleep quality, fatigue, performance concerns, workload, and the number of breaks they took each day.

Dr Phan added, “We recognise that it may not always be possible for employees to take more breaks, but if employers can promote employee wellbeing by addressing the conditions that can make work unpleasant, they may be able to reduce the number of breaks needed.”