Confessions of a Hard Worker..(because I take my breaks)

I’m sure a lot of us think we are hard workers on the job.  We also tend to feel guilty about taking our breaks at work, to the point that we might eat at our desks and never leave the workplace.  So, is that a good idea?  You might think you’re showing your Superman or Supergirl powers at work, but truly, you are doing yourself, your boss, and your customers a disservice.

Here’s why not taking breaks through out the day at work is a bad idea. When you work out at the gym, or play sports, or move your whole household in one day, or work in the yard, don’t you allow yourself a break once in a while?  Why?  To recharge, of course.  Recharge your body, right? Your brain needs recharging too.

RECHARGE: verb; to make a new charge, especially to attack again. To revive or restore energy, stamina, enthusiasm.  To refresh and revitalize.

I need my energy restored throughout the day, both physically and mentally.  I’ve worked in both types of cultures, where every one takes their breaks, or no one takes breaks.  As a supervisor myself, I make sure my immediate reports take their breaks. I’ve seen it too many times when a person plays tough and refuses to take breaks or lunch, then comes back and sues the company. Worse, the work culture frowns upon breaks, so a person feels like they shouldn’t take breaks.  Yes, legality is part of it.  The real part though, is that I want my employees to come back  refreshed and revitalized. (hopefully)  Happy employees usually mean happy customers.

I do not agree with workplace cultures where the unspoken rule is not to take breaks. It encourages judgement and gossip against coworkers. In the reverse, taking breaks together when possible can build teamwork and comradeship.  Eating at your desk  encourages your boss or direct reports to interrupt.  Of course, there are sometimes certain circumstances where you might have to push back your breaks or lunch to take care of a crisis.

Not sure what to do during a break?  Here’s what I do sometimes.  Read a book. Get to know a coworker better. Play a game on my phone. Read the news. Come up with blog ideas. Stretch. Take a short walk outside.  Eat a snack to feed my body.  Meditate.  Practice mindfulness.  Check on my kids.  Check on my mom. You get the point. The important thing is to take a real timeout from work.  I can attest that when I come back from lunch, I’m ready, recharged and revitalized to face the second half of my work day!



Going all in…

I don’t know about you guys, but when I want to learn about something, I go all in.  I want to know everything about the subject.  Books, videos, research, whatever it takes. Case in point…when I bought a pool table, I wanted to learn everything about pool.(The pool table was beautiful.  Shiny black table and bright ocean blue felt)  I already knew how to hold the stick, hit a ball, bank a shot, etc., the beginner stuff.  I wanted to learn the more advanced stuff. Time to research!  (and obsession occurs until I master it)  Since I have been a bookseller for over 20 years, books are what I turn to first. (my favorite learning tool)  Five books and a few websites later, I was doing well enough to impress my little nephews.

My whole point to that little story is my complete conviction that a lot of workplace culture is toxic, rigid and old-fashioned.  Is your workplace safe enough to express ideas, whether good ones or bad?  Do you feel safe to suggest an idea that no one agrees with but will listen respectfully, then explain why they don’t like it?  Again, respectfully?  Can you put yourself out there?  I believe that when your workplace culture is safe, respectful and open to any idea, this creates innovation, connections and cohesive teamwork.  That’s why I’m going all in…to promote positive cultures, ideas, thoughts, careers, even job searches.  It starts with a voice, and it starts with leadership.  I have a voice, and I’ve been a leader for a long time.

So, more research has started.  Research about websites, WordPress, FB pages, marketing, content, SEO’s, and analytics.  Studying what works, what doesn’t work.  Studying great places to work, and how they enhance their culture.  We may not all work at Google or Facebook or Zappos, but our leaders, managers, and CEO’s have an obligation to create a safe place to work at.  Peace and Courage.