The Importance of Taking Micro Breaks When Working from Home

Elizabeth Schnurr

It’s time for a confession… “My name is Betty Ann and I am a workaholic.” One of my greatest weaknesses is that I don’t like to break focus, and stop working on something once I get into it! I need to get the job done! I mean it can take so long to get started and get into it. Can you relate?

I feel it can be so hard to get back into focus, once you take a break! Breaking our train of thought or pushing through to finish the task or project makes it hard to take physical breaks! Yet pushing through is not the best approach either!

When working at your workplace, you are entitled to taking breaks. However, I know many people, including myself and my friends, are not taking enough breaks when working from home during Covid-19 isolation.

We humans are not created to sit for eight hours at a time (I remind myself as I write this). Extended periods of sitting increases the risk of the development of muscle and joint pain and stiffness, bodily weakness, health deterioration, cardiovascular diseases, and brain fatigue. It is important to stay active at work and take a break from sitting. Micro breaks can reduce muscular fatigue and pain while improving efficiency and productivity.

Sitting for long periods of time decreases your heart rate, which reduces blood flow to the brain. This affects the ability to think clearly. Micro breaks with body movement increase your heart rate, supplying the muscles with the nutrients that they require to function, causing the body and mind to become more alert. Additionally, micro breaks help restore stability back to the muscles to improve posture, ultimately reducing pain that can lead to ergonomic injuries. It also rests your eyes to look away from your screens and change focus.

Workers who are more comfortable and alert are more productive. They are able to focus on their assigned tasks instead of becoming distracted by fatigue or pain. May is “Focus on Mental Health Month.” Taking a few minutes for a micro-break every hour to stand up, walk around, stretch out our body and breathe deeper will help improve our brain function. Taking a 15-minute break twice per day and a half-hour for a meal break mid-shift will go a long way in helping us improve our productivity and keep our brain and thought-process fresh. We can get used to taking the breaks. Take me up on the challenge!

Ergonomic Tip: Micro breaks will decrease pain and improve worker attitude and productivity wherever we are working. Work smarter, not harder!