Are you/your co-workers/your employees or your team taking enough breaks?
Are these breaks token effectively? How to manage the right time to take a break and go to the water cooler? How can managers improve the efficiency of the time chosen for an employee taking a break?
A person can’t be 100% productive all day. It’s just not humanly possible. “Concentration is like a muscle, it needs to rest to be able to function, and it shouldn’t be overworked, otherwise it’ll simply burn out and take longer to get back into the swing of things. For this reason, even an employee working an 8-hour workday needs to take breaks to stay productive.”
Chatting around the water cooler may represent more than office gossip. In an age of e-mail, social networking, and video conferencing, having more “face time” with colleagues, helps to create a friendlier workspace and also more productive employees.
“Turns out the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a workday is not working longer, but working smarter with frequent breaks.”
There are multiple theories and methodologies that you and your team can follow. But when you manage a team, for example, in a call center/contact center environment; in creative industries, like agencies or development teams; in a front line of a supermarket checkout; deciding when is time for an employee to take a break can be a tough decision, because you have: SLA’s to accomplish; specific amounts of hours to finish a task per client and in your pipeline, pauses aren’t even planned; or even because there are lot’s of people standing in lines, waiting for a register to become available, lines delayed by a coupon-counting or even because an unusual inflow of clients.
A break, at the right time, not only prevents burnout and mental fatigue but also will help the person to come back to the job at hand with renewed energy and a sense of purpose.
In some jobs, it’s more simple to just go for a walk when we feel stuck on a problem. “If your thoughts return to the problem after a pause, those other memories now have a chance to influence your thinking.”
“When you’re in a rut…you might not be aligned with your strengths” which could lead to a vicious cycle of dissatisfaction fueled by burn out.” - O’Meara
As an example, “Zenconnect CTO Yohann Lecornet was seeing tired agents struggling with difficult customer conversations and knew he needed to develop a strategy to improve those interactions and keep customers happy. These agents were expending a lot of effort into their phone conversations and becoming exhausted at critical, busy times of the day.
Looking for an innovative solution, Yohann decided to search for a real-time mental fatigue management system. After a simple setup, Zenconnect was using a real-time mental fatigue management system (Performetric) using its dashboard to monitor when agents would be fatigued and schedule them to perform non-customer-facing tasks during the periods of the highest fatigue. To go one step further, Zenconnect pulled his call center software - Talkdesk - data to determine when they would experience high call volume and combined that information with the mental fatigue management system to proactively staff their contact center with alert, fresh agents during those busy times. The change produced positive results in no time.”