May 2014 survey, which queried more than 200 U.S. and Canadian employees, found more than half of those surveyed (55%) don’t feel like they can leave their desks. It's leading to a serious case of collective burn-out: More than four in 10 employees (41%) feel completely, utterly exhausted.
Desk-based peer pressure may be partly to blame as employees think to themselves: "Yeah, I should take a break, but I have to get this done today. Besides, nobody in the office ever takes a break anymore, so I'd probably look like a total slacker if I left for 15 minutes and came back looking like I just took a break."
Is every employee thinking this? No. Are enough employees thinking this way in order to be statistically significant? Apparently so. It's up to management to encourage regular break times and view them as essential to productivity increases, not to mention better employee morale. The whole idea of stopping every so often to be more productive might feel highly counter-intuitive, but it's the key to doing a better job at pretty much everything.
Now Staples is starting a multi-city, national “Breakroom Tour" to encourage well-stocked employee break rooms and a general spirit of break room re-exploration. There will be free snacks, so let's go make break rooms happen again, America!
We will -- just as soon as we remember how to take a break without feeling guilty about it. Hey, it's been a long recession.