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Bupa have undertaken some research which shows that out of 2000 people almost two thirds (64 per cent) of British workers claim that they are too busy to take a 20-minute break when working 6 hours or more. Would some of your employees fall into the 64 per cent?
Working Time Regulations
The Working Time Regulations are clear on this. The law states that a worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. Working hours are explained here.
The research also found that ‘only 29 per cent of employees are taking a lunch break’ and 28 per cent admitting that during a working day they don’t take any break at all!
The topic of breaks has been researched on many occasions and this has established that not taking regular breaks affects productivity, concentration and the whole the wellbeing of your staff. Whilst it is tempting to feel that the work load is too great for employees to take breaks, it’s perhaps a ‘culture thing’, and on occasions breaks may have been frowned upon. But the reality is clear, breaks are a crucial contributing factor to the success of a business.
The recommendation to all businesses would be to encourage your teams to have regular breaks. Here’s some things you may want to consider
- Get your employees to get away from their day to day duties and take a quick walk, 5 -10 minutes would be beneficial.
- For computer users, advise that they don’t be tempted to use their phone or tablet on breaks, but to give their eyes a rest.
- Recommend that breaks are taken in the middle of the day (not at the beginning or end of a shift – which is contrary to the Regulations).
- Manage breaks – we’ve probably all encountered an employee who takes every opportunity for a break. Don’t let them be abused.
- Job rotation – this way employees will have several duties to complete, rather than facing a repetition of the same duty.
As we know in the service sector, many people work long hours which, due to operational needs, can’t be avoided. But if you can, endorse breaks. Remember, if managed correctly, the productivity employees gain from regular breaks will more than make up for the time they spend taking some time out.
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor