How to Boost Workplace Productivity Now

We’ve all heard of smoke breaks at work, but does your workplace have a policy for taking wellness breaks? What is a wellness break anyway?

When at work, or on the clock, taking breaks often seems counterproductive and is traditionally frowned upon. Perhaps you’ve been told something like, “We don’t have time for breaks.” Or maybe you’ve thought, “Why would I stop in the middle of the work day to take a walk, move my body or breathe when I can push through and finish the task?” Stopping seems pointless. Many of us even work through lunch or in the evening after we get home just to “catch up.”

Interestingly though, breaks are shown to increase productivity and mental clarity during the work day, rather than diminish it. Breaks help individuals finish more work, do it well, and in less time. Recent research shows that workers are productive somewhere between three to five hours during an 8-hour work day (Perry, 2021; survey), yet employers expect their team members to be available and productive at least 8 hours per day.

This research might seem shocking considering we are expected to work a 40-hour (or more!) work week. Despite what grind work culture tells us, we are physically and mentally unable to be productive every day, all day long. We can enhance our productivity, though, and show up as our best working selves through the power of breaks.

When your body feels stiff, when you’re feeling stuck on a task, or you’re limited in your thought processes, a wellness break will improve creativity, loosen your body and help you have that “aha” moment!

I recently needed new ideas for a weekly one minute mindful moment video I share with my clients. I tried to think, but nothing came to mind that I hadn’t already shared. I felt stuck. So, I took a short walk around the block. In less than 15 minutes, I came up with nine new ideas. Nine! And all I did was step away from the task.

Still not convinced about the power of a wellness break? Try it for yourself. The next time you’re stuck, or find yourself staring off rather than finishing a task, get up. Go do something different. Then return to your assignment and see what happens.

Wellness breaks:

Improve work ethic and morale

Improve the overall health and wellbeing of employees

Improve mental clarity and productivity

Decrease feelings of burnout and aggression

Help manage stress and anxiety

Improve workplace culture

How to get started?

  1. Set a policy that each team member has one wellness break each day they work. They can take one 15 minute break or break it down to three, 5 minute breaks for mini breaks throughout the work day

  2. Brainstorm and share ideas around what a wellness break can look like (a walk, a meditation, stepping outside or away from your workspace, moving your body)

  3. Model it – take YOUR break and let others know you are doing so others will follow suit

  4. Connect with us for more support! We’d love to chat about our culture-boosting, mental health improving, and stress-reducing workplace wellness programs. Our services are available in-person, livestream, hybrid and on-demand to fit the current climate of your business, whether you are a part of a small organization or a large corporation. Connect with us at Yoga Nut today!

In health,

Lindsay Coward, MPH
Workplace Wellness Professional + Founder of Yoga Nut

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on

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