Time Health gives us some short and sweet advice on how to stay happier at work. Read ahead to learn the secret.
A micro-break, Park says, is “a totally voluntary mini-break that employees can take whenever they need.” This is different from a lunch break or some other “formal” respite decreed by an employer, she says.
Park is reluctant to say how long an optimal micro-break should last or how often it should occur, since her studies did not measure these factors. But she says most people know when they’re feeling frazzled, worn down or overwhelmed. Her research suggests that, at those times, taking a short break to chat with a coworker or listen to music will lead to better outcomes—in terms of stress, mood and performance—than staying glued to a work task.
More research on micro-breaks supports her recommendations. A 2016 study from Baylor University found that taking breaks during the work day leads to improvements in energy, concentration and task motivation—as well as higher job satisfaction. “We also found health benefits,” says Emily Hunter, first author of the study and an associate professor of management at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. People who took frequent short breaks experienced fewer headaches, less eye strain and lower rates of back pain, she says.