Company culture has a massive impact on your store’s environment. From the way your employees interact with each other to the way consumers perceive your brand, company culture is largely guided by those who work in your business and what luxuries they’re provided.
The best businesses don’t necessarily shower their workers with perks and gifts on a weekly basis, but there is one important amenity that can significantly impact the way your workers view the company: breaks.
Vacation days, lunch breaks and coffee stops are all important for boosting employee morale and productivity. Researchers have long-stressed the benefits that arise from breaks – small business owners should be sure to keep the following considerations in mind next time they’re assessing their company policies.
Vacations make workers more productive
It may seem counterintuitive, but giving your employees more time off from work may make them more productive in the long run. Several studies have linked more frequent breaks to higher productivity levels, noting that the mental release that comes along with going for a brief walk or browsing the web is crucial for keeping workers motivated and happy.
Depending on the type of business you run, there are many break options that are more easily implemented than others. If your workers spend the majority of their time working in a physical store, it may be best to encourage frequent half-hour breaks that let employees grab some coffee or read a book outdoors. Alternatively, if your business primarily operations in an office setting, encourage your workers to get up every hour and go for a brief walk, or – if your brand has a break room – equip them with books, TVs or gaming systems that may allow them a 30-minute opportunity to release a bit of steam during the work day.
The downside of dining at your desk
While the temptation of eating lunch at your desk may be too great to ignore, there are many negative effects that come along with this action. Not only do employees who crunch at their keyboards miss valuable opportunities to socialize with friends or coworkers, but the practice may encourage unhealthy working habits that may negatively impact your workers in the long run.
Janet Scarborough Civitelli, a workplace psychologist at VocationVillage.com, explained that not taking a real lunch break can take a serious emotional and physical toll on employees.
"When workers skip a lunch break on a regular basis, they often don’t realize that fatigue and burnout are creeping up on them until they wake up one day and ‘suddenly’ feel less enthusiastic about their jobs or businesses," Civitelli told CNN.
Although many employees may be negatively impacted by eating lunch at their desks, managers can combat this practice by fostering a flexible environment in which workers are encouraged to dine in a common space – like a loft or break room – or eat their lunches outside of the office.