As corporate structures and office layouts become less compartmentalized, the demand for working long hours in order to get all of the work done still remains high.

Many companies have created comprehensive wellness programs in their offices that include fitness classes, nap pods, relaxation rooms, social events, and a range of food options.

As great as these amenities are for employees' mental and physical health, deadlines still have to be met.

Anyone who was a kid in the 90s knows how something fun like video games or running around outside or staying in bed always trumped productivity toward anything else, so how can we as adults make sure that our breaks are long enough to be healthy but short enough to get our work done?

As with most things in life, it's a matter of balance that depends on the type of break that best suits your personality.

Aytekin Tank, the founder of JotForm, wrote an article on the different kinds of breaks you can take to be most productive at your specific workplace. His article points out that the success of a break is measured by whether or not someone is able to turn off their brain's prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the majority of complex decision making and stimulus organization.

Here is Tank's list of breaks to choose from:

  1. Daydream
  2. Move your body, either by walking around the office or taking a fitness class
  3. Stand at your office's "water cooler"/kitchen and socialize with a colleague
  4. Get outside and see nature
  5. Eat a little snack
  6. Browse the internet
  7. Learn something new

These run the gamut of required physical and mental attention from which you can choose based on your needs, but the common thread among them is the simple act of distraction.

Distracting your brain via a short funny YouTube video, sitting back in your chair with your eyes closed, or catching a CrossFit class all divert energy away from your prefrontal cortex and on to something temporarily novel.

The novelty allows the brain to free-float and relax, if only for a couple of minutes.

Furthermore, every option presents the opportunity for physical movement, which complements the mental distraction by allowing increased blood flow to awaken not only your body but your brain in different ways than it has just been operating.

Though Work Hive is full of members who buckle down and focus on their work super hard all day long, everyone gets up from their desk at some point.

What kind of break works best for you? How can you schedule it/them into your workday so that you are most productive?

Published in Coworking Blog