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How to Encourage Employees to Take Mindful, Restorative Breaks

Dear HR Manager,

My team often eats their lunch while multitasking between bites or during Zoom calls. How can I encourage them to take mindful, restorative breaks instead?

– Advocate for Mindful Breaks

Dear Advocate for Mindful Breaks,

Encouraging meaningful breaks can help enhance productivity and well-being. Here are some strategies to help your team embrace the importance of mindful breaks.

Highlight the Benefits of Breaks

Inform your team about the health benefits of taking breaks. Stepping away from work can boost energy levels and mental well-being. Regular breaks, including lunch, are crucial for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and overall brain function. Highlighting these benefits can make employees more inclined to prioritize their break times.

Create a Break-Friendly Culture

Shifts in workplace culture can cause employees to skip breaks. Many workers feel they must finish their tasks or fear judgment from their supervisors. Foster a culture where breaks are seen as essential rather than a sign of slacking off. Communicate that taking breaks is a valued practice that supports long-term productivity and well-being.

Provide Comfortable Spaces

Consider investing in your break areas to make them more inviting. A well-stocked and comfortable break room can encourage employees to take breaks. One study revealed that nearly 60% of employees would be more likely to take breaks if they had access to a pleasant break room, and 76% said such spaces help them relax and decompress.

Model the Behavior

As a leader, your behavior sets the tone for the team. Take your lunch breaks and encourage your team to do the same. This can help normalize the practice and reduce the stigma of taking breaks.

Encourage Flexibility

Allow employees the flexibility to take breaks when they need them. Studies have shown that autonomy in taking breaks leads to better goal achievement and increased energy levels. Trust your team to manage their break times in a way that works best for them.

Set Boundaries

Encourage employees to block out time on their calendars for lunch and ensure they feel empowered to use it. Clear communication about availability and setting boundaries around break times can help your team manage their schedules more effectively.

Encourage your team to step away from their desks and take time to recharge—it's a small change that can be a powerful tool for maintaining a healthy and effective work environment. Fostering a culture that values breaks may improve your team's well-being, productivity, and job satisfaction.

- HR Manager

SOURCE: United Benefit Advisors (UBA)