We all know that taking breaks is important throughout a working day, in order to be as productive and healthy as possible in the office environment. However, there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding when it comes to figuring out how many breaks an employee should have every day.
It doesn’t help that there is no solid, hard and fast rule. It depends upon the number of hours an employee works as to how many breaks they’re entitled to and for how long. It’s also down to the employer’s discretion to some degree too – some employers may offer more or longer breaks than others.
To simplify things a little, let’s look at the official guidance from the Government. For employees who are older than 18 years, they’re legally entitled to one break of 20 minutes’ duration if they work for more than 6 hours per day. That doesn’t sound a lot, does it? That’s why many employers offer more breaks through the day, because they know that regular breaks help with productivity and health. Forcing employees to sit at their office desks all day long with just one break is also not going to do much for how they feel in terms of being valued or appreciated!
Another point to mention is that breaks can be paid or unpaid; that’s entirely up to the employer.
Most employers offer a lunch break of either half an hour or a full hour, and they usually offer one or two breaks during the day; anything from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Again, it really comes down to what the employer wants to give. It’s also important to have comfortable break spaces for employees to go and rest during their break times. Office sofas, office booths, breakout furniture, and comfortable chairs are ideal for these types of spaces and help to create a chilled out area.
At the end of the day, productivity is second to health. The reason is because one benefits the other. If you focus on your employees’ health, they’ll be more productive for you but they’ll also feel more valued – that’s never a bad thing. Breaks are vital for focus and concentration but also for general health and wellbeing. They’re not at all counterproductive and if anything, they boost concentration and reduce the chances of an employee making a mistake.
Think carefully about the break allowances in your office and see if you can make any beneficial changes.