Micro-breaks at work lead to faster thinking employees

Having a hot drink helps 20% of workers think faster and feel less tense. (Getty)

Micro-breaks at work can help employees perform better at work, a new study has found.

Some 42% of UK workers are able to think faster when relaxed, according to the study of 1,000 people by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Business, which helps employees become better communicators.

Taking a micro-break helps 41% of employees feel more confident in the workplace and 34% said they feel better understood by others after taking a moment away from work.

A third (33%) of workers say they are better listeners after a break and 31% said they can adapt better to people and situations. For 20% of employees, taking a micro-break even stops them from losing their temper at work.

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UK workers find it most beneficial to take a mircro-break before a large group meeting (31%), meetings with very senior colleagues (30%), and interviews (27%), the research found.

Getting some fresh air is the most popular way of taking a quick break, with 31% of employees saying this is their favourite way of relaxing at work. Taking a walk (22%) and having a hot drink (20%) also help workers think faster and feel less tense.

Over half (51%) of workers say that even taking a deep breath helps them manage feelings of tension and boost their ability to perform better at work.

Time and deadline pressures were found to have the biggest impact on employees across the UK, with workers in Yorkshire feeling most affected by this (52%), followed by workforces in the North West (47%), and the East Midlands (46%).

Having to cope with unrealistic expectations at work also have an effect, with 33% saying this led to a worse performance at work, while 25% said negative workplace culture led them to underperform.

The report calls on businesses to create “effective workplace cultures that will give individuals the flexibility they need to do what is right for them. Allowing short breaks, creating quiet spaces or even flexible hours and working from home, can allow for better preparation for more effective delivery.”

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Kate Walker Miles, tutor and client manager at RADA Business, said: “It is clear from the research that encouraging workers to take the time to better prepare themselves for presentations and meetings, has a positive impact on their overall work and productivity.

This allows them to get into their bodies before situations where they need to think on their feet and make their voices heard. If you take a little time to free up your body, your mind will follow.”