You’ve heard us talk about the importance of taking a break before, but a recent article from Huffington Post contributor John Brandon indicates that not taking a break not only impacts your productivity levels, but something far worse: there’s actually a related medical condition – identified as Screen Apnea – associated with staring at your screen for too long.
Brandon describes the condition as follows:
There's a condition called Screen Apnea where, as you stare at your screen, you literally stop breathing. As you anticipate the next email or news item, you hold your breath, cutting off oxygen to your brain. Related to this is a condition called Present Shock, which means you are constantly "in the moment" scanning for tweets, Facebook posts, and other tidbits. Having this constant flow of information can make you agitated, cause undo stress, and even lead to depression.
Scary stuff, but the good news is these side effects can be reduced by simply taking a break. Brandon recommends productivity apps and techniques to get employees away from their desks; however, because there’s a trend in employees taking less breaks than ever before, employers need to show their support for taking a break, as well. Take a look at some tips from employee well-being, resiliency, and productivity expert John Trougakos
From an employer perspective, work breaks are a key factor toward reducing job stress, while reaping the cost benefits of doing so. The cost to companies for absenteeism, reduced productivity, compensation claims, health insurance, direct medical expenses and employee turnover linked to stress adds up to billions of dollars each year –this chart from Forbes has specific breakdowns of stress costs by profession.
While you can’t force your employees to take breaks, you can certainly encourage them to do so with an office breakroom. Ensure that your breakroom is well-stocked and comfortable – make it a place employees want to spend time in. An appealing break space will naturally encourage employees to go there when they need to step away from their workspace for a bit, while also making them feel appreciated and allowing them to recharge.
How are you encouraging employees to take breaks during the day?