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Microbreaks improve employee productivity and enhance cognitive performance

A University of Illinois study has found that regular microbreaks can help reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance.

Managers are constantly looking for ways to increase employee productivity, particularly in the remote work setting. A recent scientific finding suggests that implementing microbreaks – short breaks taken throughout the workday – can have a significant impact on employee productivity. In this article, we will discuss the findings of recent studies on the effect of microbreaks on employee productivity and the implications for remote workers management.

The importance of microbreaks

A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that taking short breaks throughout the workday can significantly improve employee productivity. The study, conducted by Dr. Alejandro Lleras from the University of Illinois, found that regular microbreaks can help reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance. Another study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that taking short breaks can help reduce stress and increase well-being, which can lead to improved productivity.

How microbreaks can boost productivity

Reducing mental fatigue
One of the primary ways that microbreaks can boost productivity is by reducing mental fatigue. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that taking short breaks can help reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance. This is because microbreaks allow the brain to rest and recharge, which can help improve focus and concentration.

Increasing creativity
Microbreaks can also boost productivity by increasing creativity. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that taking short breaks can help increase creativity and problem-solving abilities. This is because microbreaks allow the brain to relax, which can lead to more creative thinking.

Improving physical well-being
In addition to improving mental well-being, microbreaks can also boost productivity by improving physical well-being. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that taking short breaks can help reduce stress and increase well-being, which can lead to improved productivity. This is because microbreaks allow employees to move around, stretch, and take care of their physical needs, which can reduce tension and fatigue.

Implications for the management of remote workers

​​The findings of these studies have implications for remote workers management. Managers of remote workers should encourage their employees to take regular microbreaks throughout the workday. By providing the opportunity for microbreaks, managers can help reduce mental fatigue, increase creativity, and improve physical well-being among remote workers, which can lead to improved productivity.

Conclusion

Recent scientific research has found that implementing microbreaks, short breaks taken throughout the workday, can have a significant impact on employee productivity. Microbreaks can help reduce mental fatigue, increase creativity, and improve physical well-being, leading to improved productivity. Managers of remote workers should encourage their employees to take regular microbreaks throughout the workday, to improve productivity and well-being of the remote team.

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Journal references

Mehta, R., & Zhu, R. (J. (2009). Blue or red? exploring the effect of color on cognitive task performances. Science, 323(5918), 1226–1229. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1169144

Radwan, A., Barnes, L., DeResh, R., Englund, C., & Gribanoff, S. (2022). Effects of active microbreaks on the physical and mental well-being of office workers: A systematic review. Cogent Engineering, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/23311916.2022.2026206

Vey Law

Vey Law is a reporter at Breakthrough.

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