„If it's lagging, turn it off for a few minutes and try again“ – one of the most used pieces of advice in the electronics industry is very applicable to employee productivity fluctuation during the workday.
Productivity vs burnout
All jokes aside, humans are not made out of chips and wires and shouldn't be compared to IT equipment, but there is one thing we do have in common - sometimes a quick break can fix the problem.
Strict corporate procedures, the lack of flexibility in the „9-5“ culture and the rising problem of employee burnout clearly show that modern companies need to redefine their corporate culture – at least the parts regarding employee productivity.
One of the most discussed terms in the past couple of decades in the professional world is „productivity“. The idea of never-ending to-do lists and skipping breaks at work doesn't benefit anyone – the productivity and company profit can increase temporarily, but in the long run – it's creating stressed-out, unhappy and overworked employees that stop enjoying what they do.
Meeting deadlines doesn't equal drowning in „to-do“ lists
Of course, meeting your deadlines and goals is always going to be your primary duty, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take a quick break when you need it – Devot has never been „modern slavery“, and we want our employees to have a healthy relationship with work and be mindful of their everyday schedule.
Nowadays, getting drowned in the nightmare of never-ending tasks is a topic many people can relate to. There is only so much time in our workday, and time management is one of the modern workforce's biggest problems. The constant game of managing tasks and priorities can cause a severe buildup of stress, tension, and even anxiety. To preserve our health – both physical and mental – and to achieve the best professional results, we have to respect our limits and give ourselves a needed break.
We believe in mindfulness when it comes to taking breaks from work – rather than taking a one-time break during the workday, we encourage our employees to be mindful of their workload and energy level and to take breaks when they need them.
Being good at your job requires a clear mind and focus
Whatever your job may require, it's always a process of fulfilling a series of tasks and duties – and it implies continuous improvement; both on the individual, and the company level.
But doing professional work is rarely a linear process because real-life scenarios create a lot of dynamic and multitasking, which can drain our energy pretty quickly. Being good at your job requires a stable energy level, a clear mind, focus and motivation. That's why one of the most important things in the professional environment is to learn how and when to take a break – in order to rest your body and stimulate your mind. A proper break – taken exactly when you need it – is the ultimate powerhouse of any quality work.
How to stay focused? Let's talk about mindfulness at work
To stay focused and retain a solid energy level during our workday, we encourage a practice of mindfulness. It's defined as the ability to remain calm in the midst of an overwhelming environment. Our surroundings can greatly affect us – a noisy room, being too hot or cold, constant interruptions with phonecalls, enormous to-do lists – all of these factors can decrease your focus and even create anxiety. Mindfulness is a practice of achieving more – but not in terms of being drowned with an unreasonable workload, but in terms of being at peace. That's what is going to help you do more, be better at your job and feel great about the work you do.
What does it look like in practice? We in Devot prefer to split our day into smaller chunks, each dedicated to an individual part of work – rather than fighting a big task all at once. Taking small breaks in between every chunk allow us to deal with stress, retain a healthier mental state and achieve better focus.
In the modern workforce, we often hear people say they completely avoid taking breaks because they don't want to lose focus on the current tasks and get out of the „flow“. Although we can understand not wanting to lose focus, this habit can lead to more stress buildup and creative blocks – so don't hesitate to take some time off, go on a walk or have a chat with your favourite colleague.
The ability to take a strategic break is a very powerful tool
The IT industry is known for its flexibility regarding breaks from work and free time – but many people still have a hard time fighting off stress during their regular workdays. Mastering the ability to take a strategic break at the right time is a very powerful tool in achieving professional results.
According to Charlotte Fritz in Give me a break, breaks can improve our mood, overall well-being and performance capacity – taking a step back from work can help restore energy in the short term, and prevent burnout in the long run.
How to construct a proper break? First of all, it's important to know that it's more beneficial to take multiple short breaks, rather than one long one. Also, a break can look different for everyone – sometimes, it's going to be simply getting up from your chair and grabbing a glass of water. Other times, you'll benefit from taking a short walk every hour or two, or even doing simple breathing exercises (Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation | Michigan Medicine).
Mindfulness – how it can help you in the long run?
When it comes to dealing with stress and managing a healthy relationship with work, meditation and mindfulness play a strong role – these tools help you make healthier life choices and become more resilient to stress (Mindfulness and meditation's effects on health).
How do we become mindful? In today's world of information overload, we can easily become overwhelmed – that's why it's essential to distinguish what is important, and what relates to you at any given time. Being mindful is nothing more than honouring your current needs, state of mind and well-being. It's all about „the now“ - both physically and mentally. So, next time you start feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, make sure to give yourself a break, whatever it may look like to you.
The subtle art of delegation - you can't be a great manager until you learn it
Delegating essential tasks can be challenging. At some point in time, every manager has had the famous realization: "I can't do everything by myself", but the actual process of delegating important tasks requires some time – and quite a bit of learning.Read