We tend to assume that work and productivity stop when workers take time to relax, away from their desks, however, people that use micro-breaks are actually better prepared and more effective, according to new research.
A study of 1,000 workplaces published in Thinking On Your Feet, a report by the commercial arm of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, RADA Business, has found that 42 per cent of workers are able to think more quickly when they feel relaxed.
Nearly the same number (41%) said that they felt more confident following relaxation time, while 34 per cent said they felt better understood by others. One in three admitted that when they were relaxed, they could listen to what other people were saying with greater skill, whilst 31 per cent said they could adapt better to people and situations.
The research shows that taking time to centre or move can help workers to refocus and make better decisions. Some techniques, which respondents said helped them to be better equipped for thinking on the spot were getting some fresh air (31%) or taking a walk (22%). Workers also managed feelings of tension in work situations by having a hot drink (20%).
Kate Walker Miles, tutor and Client Manager at RADA Business said, “it’s not surprising that moving helps to free us, whether that’s simply getting up to make a cup of tea, or consciously stretching. At RADA Business, we know that releasing muscle tension and opening-up the body helps us to feel and appear present. We own our space more, become responsive rather than reactive, and feel ready for action.
“Entering situations where you are highly visible to others and which require you to respond at the moment can be daunting, no matter what career stage you’re at. Letting tension build and affect your behaviour can ultimately cause you to lose credibility when you’re put on the spot.
“It is clear from the research that encouraging workers to take the time to better prepare themselves for presentations and meetings, has a positive impact on their overall work and productivity. This allows them to get into their bodies before situations where they need to think on their feet and make their voices heard. If you take a little time to free up your body, your mind will follow.
“Creating a culture where workers can centre themselves, stretch, and take some time to refocus will better prepare them for situations where they’re under the spotlight.
“Relaxation time can build confidence, make you more adaptable and feel better understood by others. This is a simple yet effective technique to support workers but also allow businesses to succeed.”