Why Scheduling Breaks is an Important Managerial Task

October 7, 2020 | 193 views

Why Scheduling Breaks is an Important Managerial Task
Why Scheduling Breaks is an Important Managerial Task

We know how time-consuming and angst-inspiring scheduling can be, so we create our scheduling software to make lives easier for managers. It’s simple to use and we designed it to improve employee contributions with intelligent scheduling.

One part of intelligent scheduling is the wise use of break times. Every employee, hourly or not, does better work when they take a short coffee break or a real lunch (away from their workstation). Federal labor law does not require that employees take a break during a shift, but many states and municipalities do mandate breaks. However, even if your area does not have requirements for employee breaks and lunches, it is still an important responsibility of a good manager to schedule them.

Often, managers think of scheduled (sometimes even paid) breaks as a nuisance that interrupts the flow of work. Worse, nearly one in four managers believe that those who take breaks, especially lunch breaks, are not as hardworking as their other colleagues. This attitude must be rubbing off on the nearly 40% of employees who also do not feel encouraged to take breaks.

Managers’ views on breaks are understandable at times. Logistically, for example, it is difficult having someone leave their work for 10 or 15 minutes when it’s particularly busy. But there are some measurable benefits that support breaks as a benefit for managers, not only employees:

Breaks increase productivity. Any break probably helps, even those required by law, but research shows that productivity increases most when workers work in a timed environment of 52  minutes followed by 17 minutes of break-time. That specificity might be impossible to implement for a restaurant or retail business that cannot always foresee business demand at every minute of every day. Maybe the Pomodoro technique will work for your industry and your staff. Regardless of what method you choose, better results come with planned focus time followed by planned breaks.

Breaks increase employee engagement and mental health. The same survey shows significant improvements in employee attitude and engagement when they take a real lunch break. This is reflected in positive views on job satisfaction, employer ratings, feelings of value, and an increased desire to contribute to organizational success. These same characteristics are part of improved mental health. What manager doesn’t want all that?

Breaks increase creativity. If we spend too much time doing the same thing, we simply aren’t as good at it. When that activity requires thinking or problem-solving, taking breaks frees our brains up to be more creative. If we don’t take breaks often enough, we tend to get stuck in the same solutions.

For managers, the benefits come as employees feel encouraged to change focus and take breaks to reinvigorate their productivity. Use your scheduling software to plan breaks consistently. Remind employees to stop what they are doing, even for a little while. Encourage them to take a short walk, have a healthy snack, meditate or anything else that will separate them from their workstation long enough to feel renewed, relaxed and ready to contribute more efficiently to your organization.

Scheduling break times is an important and necessary task that managers must take seriously. With some encouragement, employees will achieve more, and managers will enjoy better overall results.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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