The Benefit of Breaks: Why Small Business Owners Should Take Breaks and Encourage Their Employees to as Well

June 20, 2024

In the fast-paced business world, a small business owner’s relentless drive for productivity can often overshadow the workforce’s need for rest. Small business owners frequently become caught up in the stress of striving to make every moment count and neglect to pay attention to their needs. However, many fail to realize one of the most powerful tools for enhancing productivity and well-being is taking breaks. While this strategy is often overlooked, small business owners significantly benefit when encouraging themselves and their employees to take regular breaks throughout the workday.

Here are seven reasons why small business owners must make taking breaks a non-negotiable part of their work culture:

1. Boosting Productivity

Contrary to the belief that working longer hours equals higher productivity, numerous studies have shown that regular breaks can enhance overall efficiency. Our brains are not designed to maintain constant focus for extended periods. Thus, breaks help prevent mental fatigue, allowing small business owners and employees to return to tasks with renewed energy and concentration.

The Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for 25 minutes and a 5-minute break, leverages the brain’s natural attention span to boost productivity. Research supports this approach, demonstrating that short, frequent breaks can improve mental agility, creativity, and problem-solving skills. By encouraging breaks, small business owners create an environment where their team can maintain high levels of productivity throughout the day.

2. Enhancing Creativity

Creativity is a cornerstone of innovation. However, it only thrives when we are given the time to unwind and allow our minds to wander. When employees step away from their desks, engage in different activities, or relax, their brains can make connections and generate ideas more freely. Furthermore, these moments of relaxation are often when the best ideas surface.

Small business owners should encourage their team to walk, exercise light, or step outside for fresh air. These activities can help clear their minds and stimulate creative thinking. When small business owners lead by example and take breaks, they set a positive tone and show they value creativity and innovation.

3. Improving Physical Health

Prolonged sitting and screen time can harm physical health, contributing to back pain, eye strain, and poor posture. Regular breaks that involve movement can mitigate these risks, promoting better overall health and reducing the likelihood of long-term health problems.

Small business owners should encourage employees to stand up, stretch, or take a short walk during breaks. They can consider incorporating standing desks or a designated area for light exercises. These small changes can significantly impact small business owners and their employees’ physical well-being and contribute to a more energized and healthier workforce overall.

4. Reducing Stress and Burnout

The pressure to perform constantly can lead to high stress levels and, eventually, burnout for small business owners and their employees. Taking breaks is a simple yet effective way for them to manage stress levels. Short pauses allow employees to decompress, relax, and reset, significantly reducing stress and preventing burnout.

Small business owners should create a work culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being. They should encourage open communication about stress and workload while promoting that taking breaks is a sign of intelligent working, not slacking. Furthermore, offering resources such as mindfulness or relaxation sessions can help employees manage their stress.

5. Enhancing Focus and Concentration

When small business owners and their employees work for extended periods without breaks, their ability to focus and concentrate diminishes. Breaks help to reset their cognitive functions, making it easier to maintain attention and work more effectively.

Small business owners should also encourage the use of productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Technique or the 52/17 rule (52 minutes of work followed by a 17-minute break). These methods can help them structure the workday to maximize focus and minimize distractions, leading to better outcomes for tasks that require deep concentration.

6. Fostering Team Bonding and Morale

Breaks also provide an opportunity for small business owners and their employees to interact with each other in a more relaxed setting. These informal interactions can strengthen team bonds, improve communication, and enhance morale. A team that feels connected and supported will likely be more engaged and motivated.

Small business owners should encourage team-building activities during breaks, such as casual chats, group walks, or communal coffee breaks. These moments can foster a sense of camaraderie and create a more cohesive and collaborative work environment.

7. Setting a Positive Example

A small business owner’s actions set the tone for their company’s work culture. By prioritizing breaks and demonstrating their importance, they send a powerful message to their employees that their well-being is valued. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and a more positive workplace atmosphere.

Lastly, small business owners should make it a point to take regular breaks and share the benefits they experience with their team. It is also beneficial for them to encourage managers and leaders within their organization to do the same. Employees who see that taking breaks is a company-wide practice will feel more comfortable incorporating them into their routines.

The importance of taking breaks is often underestimated in the quest for productivity and success. However, incorporating regular breaks into the workday is a powerful strategy for enhancing productivity, creativity, physical health, mental well-being, focus, and team building.

It is the responsibility of small business owners to cultivate a work environment that prioritizes the well-being of not only their employees but also themselves. By embracing the power of pausing, small business owners can create a more sustainable, healthy, and productive workplace that benefits everyone involved.

PaySmart is a payroll provider in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!