just a coffee break..?

Coffee breaks are taken away in the name of production, meeting project deadlines and securing bonuses for the corporation and others. In some cases people don’t have or are not even allowed to take these very valuable little breaks because the minimum code of labour standards is what it is, a very minimum. Many workers that work outside of an office job simply can’t just break away for a coffee or a bathroom run, nonetheless make a phone call to check on family.

In a culture where we get bombarded with how super human we are, multi tasked, never resting, always achieving the highest standards on every level physically and mentally, we simply accept it and look down on people who fight for these little breaks. Going as far as calling it laziness and stealing money from the company.

How about stealing health from the employee? Many of us give the best years of our life physically and mentally to work, and I’m talking thirty, forty and more years! a small break every couple of hours doesn’t seem much to give in a life span of commitment, especially when we talk so much about the well being and balance at work. Its not stealing, its investing in everybody’s health which benefits the corporation as well, and its putting the money where the mouth is.

Would you stand by watching a farmer make his horse work for almost five hours straight before giving it a break? According to our minimum standards of labour code, that’s ok to do with people. Do you think it is to much to ask for?

No, it is not to much to ask for, nor should you feel bad about it or less invested! For the most important part it is a matter of health, your health! It boosts morale, and with good morale comes quality, safety and production. Coffee breaks host communication between employees as minds think and share valuable information. Work doesn’t just stop for an employee when he/she takes a break.  

Physically and mentally too, we need that break to distance ourselves and remove us from the noise, harsh environment, the smells and dirt, or perhaps from standing in the same spot doing the same motion staring at the same surrounding. Stress is a huge factor in today’s work environments and I find it amazing how many people are affected by it by missing days, months and years of employment. Unfortunately a big part of stress is contributed by being mentally bullied by managers. Another more basic but equally important human need, “Just removing your hunger or thirst, and discomfort ” .

There are smart companies though that exceed the bare minimum labour code because they respect, value and care for their employees. They are aware that small breaks increases productivity for many reasons and it is part of their investment to treat their workforce as an asset. The workers take ownership because they are part of it and they feel respected as human beings. Places like that have healthier employees, physically and mentally. Healthy employees are cheaper than sick employees and contribute to a more consistent and efficient workplace.

Those breaks are necessary when they are not weather or emergency dependant. Let the worker recharge, reduce the emotional exhaustion and boost the morality overall! That shows the employee that someone cares.

and that matters !