You should take small breaks throughout the day and for longer periods across the year. The pandemic has meant lots more people are working from home, and regular home working looks like it’s going to stay long after the pandemic ends. There are so many benefits to working at home, but one drawback has been that you’re less likely to take a break if you’re not in your workplace. The kitchen is a shorter walk away, there are fewer people to have a quick chat with and you don’t have to leave to catch the train home – it’s tempting to just keep on working.
If you know the people in your team are struggling to take a break, here are some ideas to encourage them to.
Share what you’re doing
If you have a team WhatsApp group or Teams channel, start sharing a photo of something nice you’ve done on your break. Since the start of the pandemic, the Heart of the City team has been sharing photos of tasty lunches we’ve made, beautiful dog walks we’ve been on and fun activities we’ve done with our kids.
When you see someone else sharing what they’ve done, it encourages you to go and do the same – you don’t want to feel left out of the fun!
And if you lead a team, make sure you share some of what you do on your breaks too. It’ll mean other people are more likely to feel able to take a break.
Get people together
As restrictions ease, it might be possible to get your team together, so you could have a break together – and why not do some volunteering at the same time? For Volunteers’ Week 2021, the Heart of the City team spent the day volunteering with Trees for Cities. It was brilliant to be together after such a long time on Zoom, and being outside for the day really energised us to get back to our projects the next day.
If you can’t get together in person, you can still offer some online activities for people to do together. One of our ambassador companies, BE Offices, hosts lots of online workshops such as yoga, reflexology and cookalongs. Do you have someone in your team with a skill they could share with others for a fun break?
Hold a competition
Holding a competition can really encourage people to take some time away from their computers. The City of London Corporation, where Heart of the City is funded and housed, has various groups for employees and runs competitions with prizes throughout the year.
A couple of us from Heart of the City recently took part in the Corporation running challenge, signing up to run a specific distance in six weeks. As well as being a great driver to take a break from work, it also meant we socialised (virtually) with each other and got to know some new people. And you don’t need a huge prize to get people involved – it’s definitely the taking part that counts!