Employees Not Leaving their Desks? Here Are 5 Ways to Get Them to Take a Break.

May 19, 2014 Tom Heisroth

Staples Advantage breakroom

Staples recently released breakroom survey results, which revealed that despite working longer hours, many employees feel too guilty to take breaks. While 90 percent of employers say they encourage breaks, your office break culture may require a refresh so that employees feel more at ease stepping away from their desks. Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Think about Comfort: Forty-five percent of respondents said they would use a breakroom more often if it was equipped with proper furniture to allow relaxation. Consider break-friendly furniture like relaxing chairs or couches, and fun items like foosball tables to get employees to step away from their desks.
  2. Provide Flexibility during Breaks: Because work breaks are often short, employees’ choices for how to spend this time (e.g., where to go, what to do and what to eat or drink) can be very limited. This can reduce feelings of having control and as a result reduce the energizing effects of the break. An easy way to boost empowerment is to actually give them more options for how to unwind at work.
  3. Provide a Well-Stocked Breakroom: The majority of respondents (78 percent) said that a well-stocked/comfortable breakroom would make them feel that their employer cares about their well-being, and 57 percent of employees want healthy snacks. From a productivity standpoint, a well-stocked breakroom means employees don’t have to leave the office for an afternoon coffee run if they don’t want to, which helps businesses save on costs associated with otherwise lost productivity.
  4. Encourage a “Disconnect”: Technology affords us greater flexibility in where and how we work, but 25 percent of respondents don’t disconnect from work-related technology when taking breaks, which can decrease the quality of break time.  Encourage employees to leave the smartphone behind when walking away from their desk to allow them to recharge.
  5. Keep the Breakroom Clean: The breakroom can be the least clean spot in the office. Keep your breakroom clean and organized by regularly sanitizing any small appliances – like microwaves and toaster ovens – and keeping disposal receptacles from overflowing. Stocking the breakroom doesn’t end at snacks and beverages, but also cleaning supplies such as sanitizing wipes to help encourage cleanliness.

How are you encouraging employees to step away from their desks and take a break in your office?

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