Why it is important to take short breaks and naps at the office

It is important to work every day in today’s world in order to earn a living and we have to work twice as hard given the level of competition that exists today but that does not mean one cannot take a break. Everyone’s looking at their clocks, getting up for coffee breaks and hoping to get that little shut eye.

We are pleased with a break after putting in hours of hard work as we feel rewards are ours after the effort we put in. Resting periods can vary from between working hours to a vacation after a few months of hard work. Yet, we all crave that little coffee break, where we go and stand at the tropical social coffee machine. The importance of this break is that we feel more rejuvenated and fresh after such breaks and our productivity level rises. Different countries have different laws and regulations regarding rest at work. There is a certain amount of hours that a worker has to work and then he/she is allowed a 15 minute or 30 minute break. On daily basis a worker can have 11 straight hours of rest.

The idea of taking short breaks is spreading with such fearsome velocity and this is definitely a good news for people around the world. Experts have concluded that small breaks fuel productivity. Our creativity and processing capacity starts to wan when our circuits are heated due to over-use for long hours that is to stay our brains need these short intervals to reboot and hit back with full potential.

Often our mind is so over-worked with pressure and duress at work, that it takes a toll on our health, not to mention where we feel like a trapped without a solution to present as conclusive ending to a monthly meeting. It is necessary to take time for reflection, a breather to realize our day is broken up into different chunks (which makes it a whole lot easier to tackle) and these micro-breaks allow us to get our little tasks done as well. The trend of quick lunches now allows us to incorporate workout time in our work days. The minute breaks don’t mean just reflecting and stopping yourself from doing a task, it could be anything from switching tasks to discussing how the project is coming along over a little break down on the 7th Floor. It is really good to plan these in the day.

Different cultures have different concepts when it comes to rest. The Japanese allow their workers to take a nap and sleep during work but they have to sit up and appear as if they are not asleep. Sleeping at work is so common in Japan that there’s a word for it in Japanese — Inemuri (居眠り).  Most workers prefer to take a power nap and the duration of this nap is less than 30 minutes. These power naps restore wakefulness, performance and learning. These techniques can be used by employers to get the most productive output from their workforce. And I believe for people, like me who may suffer the somnolent restlessness syndrome, the quiet room is an amazing innovation. Not that I encourage sleeping at work but there are days when you are drained, completely and guess what you need, a quick 10 minute power nap.

Some managers and lower level employees see fit to work through the lunch breaks, in order to get more done but forego the nutritional and psychic energy their lunch provides. Hence, it is quite unadvisable to do so. From my work experience, I learnt the best were working lunches, where you work while you have lunch (if the need actually arises for working without a break), planning your work gets you more productivity and allows you time to spruce up and not look like a spit-up cabbage roll, run over by a drunk driver.

This is a unique way that is becoming common around the world and firms are taking measures to ensure that a balance is maintained and that the workers feel healthy, fit and happy at work.

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.