How many breaks is acceptable at work?

breaks at work

breaks at work

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Coffee breaks; smoke breaks; bathroom breaks… how many are acceptable in a working day?

If you’re asking this question, then you are either a) feeling that you deserve more than you currently take, or b) feeling that you might be taking too many and that you could be disciplined for it.

We need to take breaks

Breaks are important. They give us time to rest weary muscles, take a leak, recharge the brain. They also stop us from getting bored and fatigued by repetitive tasks (this is something that I personally suffer from very badly!)

A break also helps our memories store information. Our brains sort and shift data when we are not concentrating on a task. A break helps solve problems that feel insurmountable when we are tackling them with effort.

A break also helps us avoid accidents and injuries. Physical tiredness leads to mistakes and potentially dangerous situations.

So how many breaks are acceptable?

Short Answer: Depends.

Long Answer: It depends on a number of factors, such as:

Don’t feel guilty about taking breaks

One reason you might be questioning your break-taking is because you feel guilty. Your colleagues are slaving away, whilst you sit with your feet up… This is the wrong thinking. As explained above, breaks are important – in fact essential. A break makes us more efficient, and increases our productivity. So if your colleagues choose to slave on whilst you take a breather, more the pity on them!

If your breaks don’t feel right, or fair, then ask for clarity

If something doesn’t feel right about your situation and the breaks you take, then ask your boss for their opinion. You might be feeling that your boss thinks you take too many; perhaps you’re right, or perhaps it’s just paranoia. Best to ask. Clear the air on your breaks, and you will find that when you do take them, you enjoy them all the more.

This post is part [part not set] of 16 in the series Time Management
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