To Break Or Not To Break?

Posted On 20 Feb 2016

To Break Or Not To Break?

20 Feb 2016
To Break Or Not To Break?

Candidate Resource, Employer Resource, EST10 Team

To Break Or Not To Break?

We’ve officially passed Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day (1. Can you believe there’s a day for that?! 2. It’s January 17th in case you were wondering.)

But one resolution we sincerely hope you haven’t ditched is the resolution to remember to take your lunch break.

To break or not to break? This is the question that has once again come to the fore after an unapologetically brazen article published on Jezebel earlier this year demanded “take your f***ing lunch break”. If only it were that simple…

According to a recent study, only 1 in 5 people leave their desk or office for a lunch break.  (For the sake of clarification, we are not debating whether or not you should eat throughout the work day. Sustenance is obligatory. Period. )  As you can imagine, this prompted a whole range of follow up studies and responses, the most interesting of which virtually states that you don’t even have to eat on your lunch break! Workplace psychologist Kimberly Elsbach insists:


“You just need to get out. And it doesn’t have to be between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to have a positive impact. It can be just going outside and taking a walk around the block. That in itself is really restorative.”

So, to break or not to break? We say break…

Yes, there are only so many hours in the day and if you’re working to a deadline, we completely understand the desire to stay in the office. Anything that is going to bring you piece of mind is well worth it, irrespective of any potential negative side effects. But if you never leave the office, perhaps it’s time for a change. Here’s why…

Putting in more hours doesn’t necessarily mean getting more done

Research by the Business Roundtable found that increasing the number of hours worked from 40 to 60 hours only sees an increase in work by about 25%. Why? We do our best work between hours two and six of any given day. For every hour after the eighth, productivity levels drop dramatically.

You’re more likely to make mistakes

As fatigue sets in, perceived emotional intelligence and our ability to think constructively is compromised. This increases our chances of poor judgment, ineffective communication and reduced self-discipline.

You’ll run out of steam

Working without a break can take its toll, even if you don’t realise it. Not only will you be physically, mentally and emotionally drained, but you run this risk of killing your enthusiasm and losing sight of the big picture. Brief breaks can help keep you focused and offer the chance to recharge, reflect and reactivate.

So you’ve decided to embrace the humble break? Amazing! Whether you decide to eat on this break or keep your lunch for the office is entirely up to you, but irrespective of this decision, the opportunity to refresh and reenergise will surely do you good.