BLOG The Importance of Taking Breaks Throughout the Workday

Published: May 28, 2024 7 min read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

In the frenetic world of remote work and professional hustles, “break” can somehow become a bit of a foreign concept. But as it turns out, that pause button is more than just a luxury; it’s necessary for optimum performance. In this blog post, we’ll explore the science-backed reasons why employees — especially those working remotely — need to be graceful and allow themselves to step back throughout their workday. Moreover, this blog will share strategies for making the most of these breaks and guide you on your path to a more fulfilling, productive, and balanced work life.

Understanding the Science of Rest

Though you may fill up your coffee mug throughout the day, you’re probably forgetting to reload your cognitive capacity as well. Research has shown that our brains operate on cycles known as ultradian rhythms. These cycles include intervals of intense focus followed by shorter spans of rest. Ignoring these built-in breaks can lead to a decrease in attention, productivity, and quality of work.

Workday breaks aren’t just about switching off from the task at hand — they’re about giving our neurons the much-needed opportunity to refuel and reset. Think of it as interval training for the brain, with a reward of heightened alertness each time a resting state is practiced.

Benefits Beyond the Surface


When we talk about taking a break, we’re not just talking about avoiding burnout (although that’s a pretty compelling reason in and of itself). Regular breaks can enhance not only our daily work but our overall health and happiness.

Enhanced Productivity and Creativity

The belief that productivity is a direct result of hours worked is outdated. Scientific evidence supports the idea that quality of work is closely tied to the regularity and length of breaks throughout the workday — especially given that creativity seemingly comes in bursts. Each pause provides the mind with a chance to process information subconsciously. Just think of those eureka moments you may miss out on without breaks; no amount of desk-camping can replicate such.

Physical and Mental Well-being

Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods can spell doom for our bodies and our minds. By taking smaller “micro-breaks” — a quick stretch, a brisk walk, or even a few moments of deep breathing — we can counterbalance the physical and mental stress of our work.

Job Satisfaction and Burnout Prevention

For many employees, the line between work and personal time has been steadily blurring, especially with the rise of remote work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who work from home, the onus of responsibility becomes one of discipline; with less physical oversight, it can be easy to slack off and not get your work done. In turn, employees will work past 5pm, and these extended hours can lead to job dissatisfaction and a quicker path to burnout. Regular, scheduled breaks can act as a demarcation line, ensuring you have moments in your day to look forward to and enjoy.

Crafting Your Break-Time Rituals

The key to productive breaks is intentionality. It’s not about checking out from work without a plan or purpose. Rather, it’s about incorporating breaks into your work routine in a way that enhances your day.

The Pomodoro Technique

If you’ve ever done research into taking breaks, chances are you’ve already heard of the Pomodoro Technique. Tools like the Pomodoro Technique, which advocates for 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, are popular for a reason — they work. Experiment with timings and activities during your breaks to find what truly rejuvenates you; it doesn’t necessarily have to be the 25-to-5 ratio. You could try 30:10, 20:8, 15:5, 10:3, and so on and so forth.

Meaningful Break Activities

Leverage your break times with activities that can help clear your mind, relax your body, or engage both. Whether it’s practicing mindfulness, having a quick chat with a colleague (even virtually), or taking a power nap, make sure it’s an activity that brings you back to work feeling recharged and refreshed.

Combatting Break-time Guilt

We’ve likely all felt a tinge of “I should be working” guilt. With the effects of “Hustle Culture” still lingering (though the tides are turning with a more holistic approach to work), it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of not feeling like you’re doing “enough.”

However, the research is clear—breaks are not time wasted. They are time invested in your well-being and, by extension, in the quality of your work. Shake off the guilt and instead use this time to celebrate your productivity system in action.

Realigning Your Workload

If you find yourself constantly skipping breaks due to an overwhelming workload, it’s time to reassess. Speak with your manager about priorities, delegate where possible, and remember to celebrate small victories along the way. Overloading is shortsighted and counter-intuitive for sustainable productivity.

Why ONE18MEDIA Advocates for Breaks and a Flexible Work-Life Balance

In this digital age where work can consume every hour of our lives, the importance of taking a step back cannot be overstated. Not only do regular breaks lead to enhanced output, but they also contribute to our long-term health and satisfaction. Begin with small adjustments — a five-minute stretching session here, a ten-minute meditation there — and build up a pattern that works for you. It might seem paradoxical, but productivity can be boosted by giving yourself the gift of occasional silence or the rush of something entirely different.

At ONE18MEDIA, we more than understand the necessity for taking breaks during the workday. As digital marketers, we know the plight of being creative and sitting behind a computer for 8 hours is a huge ask — not to mention, it’s understatedly taxing! So go ahead, take that break and come back recharged and refreshed — you deserve it.

For more pointers like this and on the digital marketing sphere, please visit ONE18MEDIA’s website and contact us today for more!