Sometimes the best thing you can do to boost daily productivity and morale is take a short break from work. But new research shows that the very best breaks are not those spent watching funny videos on Youtube, or chatting around the water cooler. Instead, the most effective way to recharge is to do what you did in kindergarten — enjoy a 20-minute outdoor recess.
However, you don’t have to climb monkey bars or jog, according to a recently released study reported in the British newspaper The Telegraph. The research by psychology professor Richard Ryan at the University of Rochester concludes that all you need to do is just be outdoors to get a jolt of energy that is equivalent to a strong cup of coffee.
Working with 537 volunteers, Professor Ryan found those who spent just 20 minutes in the open air experienced a significant increase in vitality that had a positive effect on their work day.
Even desk-bound volunteers who were encouraged to imagine being outside and were shown pictures of the outsides recorded better mood and energy levels throughout the day than those who didn’t let their minds stray out of doors.
Professor Ryan says his study shows that “people feel more alive” when they can feel the sun and the breeze. It’s logical, he adds, given the natural bond between humans and nature.
At The Bagg Group, we know from decades of interviewing candidates that employees truly value organizations which recognize life-work balance. Now, science has come onside to confirm that staying glued to the desk from nine to five is counter-productive.
A 20- minute recess is good for the spirit and for decreasing absenteeism. Going outside increases wellbeing. “People with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses,” said Professor Ryan.
This summer, spread the word to colleagues that they’ll be doing themselves and the organization a favour by not lunching at the desks, but picnicking instead.