Take Five

take5How often have you looked up and realized that you missed lunch? Maybe even missed dinner? Today’s “work…work…work” mentality has taken a toll on employees performance, job satisfaction and health.  This can be especially true for IT workers!

The average American worker spends 9.2 hours per day at work–30% are skipping lunch or eating at their desk. The vast majority of workers can access their email and desktops on their smartphones. This has now become “normal”. Furthermore, it has become expected in many companies that key team members make themselves available anytime, anywhere. This change in work structure and expectations is linked to increased stress and employee dissatisfaction. This then snowballs into increased absenteeism, increased health insurance costs, loss of productivity, and staff turnover.

There are some simple changes that can be made to reverse what ails the modern workplace. The easiest solution is to take breaks throughout the day. Here is a breakdown on how breaks can increase productivity and decrease healthcare costs:

  • 15 seconds – decrease mental fatigue and preserve eyesight by looking away from the computer for 15 seconds every ten minutes.
  • 30 seconds to 5 minutes – can increase mental acuity by 13%, increase focus and productivity.
  • 2 minutes – stand up and stretch for 2 minutes every hour to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and overall fatigue
  • 5 minutes – away from typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse can combat hand, wrist and forearm pain.
  • 6 minutes – the optimal amount of time spent every 80 minutes taking a break from all types of work to increase productivity and mental acuity.
  • 20 minutes – while not always an option, a 20 minute nap can provide more rest, physical and mental recovery than 20 minutes of deep sleep.  Alertness can increase over 30%.

The average manager spends 2 days per week in meetings, many longer than they need to be. In addition to taking breaks, the structure of meetings can also be changed to increase productivity, participation and efficiency. Conducting standing meetings, by standing we mean physically standing, will increase focus on the agenda, garner full attention of the attendees and perhaps allow for less time in the boardroom, more time implementing what was discussed.

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