Complex Made Simple

Study: How to take breaks at work to increase productivity

Christmas is around the corner and it can be difficult to stay focused at work during the festive season.

Every day we make hundreds of decisions, big and small, and this can lead to decision fatigue.

Taking breaks is actually a great way to stay productive. Just like your body after a workout, you need to provide your brain with time to rest, or strategic breaks as you will.

A study from the University of Illinois suggested that employees should take a short break every hour between five to fifteen minutes and then a longer break of about thirty minutes every three hours during the day.

It is important to take the time away from screens, focus on something else, and ensure your mind has a chance to relax. Here, Medy Navani, Founder and Creative Director of Design Haus Medy, shares his tips on how to take breaks at work in order to increase productivity.

Infographic: Increase productivity by keeping cool, calm and collected

Start projects early

Procrastination hits everyone and it can then mean you get the sudden fear of a looming deadline. Save yourself the stress and set small goals for those larger projects to give yourself the time to do it well and have time to take breaks throughout. This will allow for you to take the time to do it and when you come back to it, you will have fresh eyes to ensure it is at the standard required.

Get physical

Exercise helps increase energy levels and focus. Take the time to go for a five to ten-minute walk during your lunch break or simply make a conscious effort to get up from your desk every hour and do a quick stretch. This will keep your blood flowing and reinvigorate you to continue on with the tasks at hand.

Snack it out

Your brain needs fuel so take the time to get a healthy snack or rehydrate with a nice cup of tea throughout the day. Get up and go to the pantry to take a break away from your screen as an added bonus and perhaps see if any of your colleagues may want as well. A break while being helpful – win.

Video: 5 reasons why working fewer hours creates better productivity


During the day you should take a moment to engage with others around you. Stop what you are doing and have a quick chat with your colleagues to discuss something other than work. It will provide you with the opportunity to bond as well as take your mind off work.

Established in 2006, Design Haus Medy is an award-winning architecture and interior design practice based in Dubai.