Frequent breaks make you more efficient

breakIllustration.At Work.Photo: Frank May / NTB scanpix

Those who take frequent breaks at work become more effective, Danish researchers have shown.


The Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen has investigated the connection between breaks and productivity. In many people’s eyes, the results are probably welcome.

If you do not take frequent breaks, concentration, creativity and productivity drop,and you get less return, concluded work and organisational psychologist, Janne Skakon.

The brain must rest

Research shows that a break of 10 to 15 minutes every one and a half hours is optimal if you want to regain concentration.

Even a couple of minutes of pause, looking out of the window, can have a good effect.
‘’You need to pause from tasks that are cognitively demanding, so to return to them with renewed power. The brain must have the opportunity to rest and avoid stress, said Skakon.

“For example, when we work on new things, the tasks are more demanding, and therefore we need breaks because we get tired sooner. Breaks help us keep focus, find solutions and get back on track,’’ she said.

Away from the workplace

Getting up and leaving the workplace, the concentration is further enhanced, the research shows.

‘’Physical activity increases blood circulation and blood flow in the brain, and it can help us see things in new ways. Breaks contribute to ideas and solutions,’’ said Skakon.

Breaks in green surroundings also give greater effect, and a so-called power nap, a few minutes of sleep, does wonders for the concentration.

Prioritising breaks with colleagues makes them even more enjoyable, Skakon pointed out.

‘’Breaks can create social glue in a workplace. Social cohesion increases, and they can prevent conflicts,’’ said Skakon.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today