There is always that one person at work who is always seen lounging around the pantry or water cooler, sipping on endless cups of coffee and chatting with whoever comes by.
Everyone wonders how this person gets any work done and yet, they fly through appraisals successfully year after year. Then there are organisations that have strict guidelines for breaks, but this isn’t received well by employees either. After all, everyone has a different style of working and productivity peaks at different times for different people. Balancing time at the desk and time away from it might seem like a simple matter but the ideal ratio is actually quite difficult to come by.
“It is really difficult to find an ideal ratio as such, but I think about 4-5 hours of work calls for a 30 minute break,” suggests Abhimanyu Bhosale, founder-CEO, Live Health. “Overall, Indians are relatively very hard-working and the ratio of work to leisure is less than the global average. But I think it is the culture that matters; Indians have a lot of overall festive breaks and the overall happiness index in most urban cities is quite good,” he adds. As Bhosale says, balancing is very subjective to a person and it depends on how the person likes to relax. According to Kiran Iyer, sr. manager, HR, Healthenablr India Pvt Ltd, the ideal ratio of work time and leisure is 90 120 minutes work with 15 20 minutes leisure break.
If you happen to work with people who enjoy taking frequent breaks while you prefer a single long break, it can pose a problem. Productivity can suffer when one doesn’t utilise the peak productivity hours. The key then, is to be clear about where you stand and change the way you spend your breaks. “Break time provides a unique opportunity to network with your colleagues, building and nurturing relationships, creating awareness about other businesses and understanding inter dependent functions, etc. So, instead of being closed to the idea, one can choose to utilise it effectively too. Ultimately, it is about working smart,” shares Jagjit Singh, chief people officer, PwC India.
Singh sums it up, “For the millennials, it is no longer about being told when to take a break or what the length of the break is going to be. It is about what you need to accomplish everything else will fall into place.” Thus, there’s no need to overthink a break unless it starts to reflect on your output at work.