New Study Reveals Employees Reject Breaks Despite High-Level Stress
A new study has revealed that many employees refuse to take breaks despite experiencing high-stress levels at work.
The University of Waterloo researchers did the study. They found that many employees feel that taking a break would negatively affect their productivity and the success of their work.
According to the study, employees frequently continued working even when they desired a break, possibly because they experienced pressure to complete their tasks within the allotted time.
James Beck, an industrial and organizational psychology professor at Waterloo, cited in a statement.
“Our research provides a comprehensive detail of the processes involved when deciding to take a break and provides insights into how managers and employees can use work breaks more effectively, potentially improving well-being and performance.”
Details of the Study
The researchers surveyed 107 employees to inquire about their reasons for taking or not taking a break.
Then they surveyed twice a day, over five days, with 287 employees to evaluate their sleep quality, workload, fatigue, performance concerns, and the frequency of their breaks.
The study discovered that despite breaks being helpful to employee well-being and performance, according to prior research, they were hesitant to take them if they perceived their superiors as unsupportive.
The findings are concerning, as taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health.
Despite the belief that breaks are unproductive, many employees need breaks to remain attentive and sustain high performance.
Working for extended periods without a break makes us more prone to stress, anxiety, and burnout.
It can lead to various negative health consequences, including insomnia, digestive problems, and a weakened immune system.
The researchers suggest employees refuse to take breaks because of a culture of overwork and a fear of falling behind on tasks.
In many workplaces, there is an expectation that employees should constantly be available and productive, even during their breaks.
“We know that it may not always be possible for employees to take breaks more often. But if employers can improve employee well-being by addressing the conditions that make work unpleasant, they may be able to lower the number of breaks needed,” said Dr. Vincent Phan.
Dr. Phan is the study’s first author, which he conducted as part of his doctoral thesis in industrial and organizational psychology.
The Study can Promote Employee Well-Being
The researchers aim to use their findings to promote employee well-being. They also expect future research to delve into structural and contextual factors affecting taking breaks more comprehensively.
The researchers suggest that workplaces should implement policies and practices encouraging employees to take regular breaks.
It could include providing a designated break area, promoting the benefits of rest, and scheduling frequent breaks into the workday.
Employers can also create a healthier work culture by promoting work-life balance and encouraging employees to prioritize their well-being.
Promoting a healthy work culture makes employees more likely to feel supported. It is possible in taking breaks and prioritizing their physical and mental health.