A study of a wide selection of employees found more than six in 10 feel they don’t take enough breaks during the working day.
The average UK worker takes just two breaks a day for a total of only 24 minutes – but nearly half feel guilty for taking any time out. And one in 10 don’t take a single break – because they are under too much pressure or too busy to have more time away from their job.
More than a third blame their lack of downtime on a huge workload while 28 percent struggle to find the time between endless Zoom calls or meetings. The pressure to get everything done (27 percent), overflowing inboxes (25 percent) and a fear that their boss will think they are shirking work (24 percent) are also among the reasons for not taking more breaks.
But the study, commissioned by Readly digital magazine subscription service to mark its partnership with Diet Coke, found that skipping breaks leaves workers feeling more tired, (47 percent), struggling to concentrate (40 percent) and irritable (37 percent).
As a result, more than a quarter (28 percent) zone out of meetings while 24 percent often make mistakes at work.
Psychologist Dr Becky Spelman, who is working with Readly on its ‘A Space for Yourself’ initiative, said: “People often worry that they will be seen as working less efficiently if they take breaks, but the reality is that we all need to take breaks, and that we work more efficiently, making fewer mistakes, and having a more productive outcome, when we take the time we need to unwind.”
The study also found that the first break of the day is normally at 11.45am with reasons including wanting a computer screen break (47 per cent), to keep hydrated (42 per cent) and to move their body (40 per cent).
More than half of workers (57 per cent) use their downtime to have a drink while 30 per cent head out for a walk or run. But 38 per cent simply pop to the toilet during their break.
Since working from home, 28 per cent admitted the number of breaks they take has decreased, despite 39 per cent now working longer hours than they did before the pandemic.
The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found that it doesn’t end when work finishes either, as just 48 per cent feel they give themselves enough time to relax after a busy day.
More than half (51 per cent) don’t get enough time out for themselves with household chores often getting in the way for 37 per cent of Brits. As a result, the average adult gets just 35 minutes a day of peace and quiet a day.
When they do finally take some time out, one in four head to their bedroom, with 75 per cent watching TV, 27 per cent reading a magazine or book and 17 per cent reading online.
TOP 10 WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK
Making a cup of coffee/tea
Popping to the bathroom
Going for a walk/run
Grab your favourite drink
Hanging out the washing
Preparing for dinner
Reading a book or magazine
Taking the dog out for a walk
Running errands, such as going to the Post Office
Readly, the all-you-can-read subscription service, provides access to over 5,000 digital magazines and newspapers for £7.99 a month. Diet Coke fans can get a 2 month free trial to the Readly service – with the offer available on promotional packs until 18 April 2021.