Give Me a Better Break: Choosing Workday Break Activities to Maximize Resource Recovery
Hunter, Emily M.
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Surprisingly little research investigates employee breaks at work, and even less research provides prescriptive suggestions for better workday breaks in terms of when, where, and how break activities are most beneficial. Based on the effort–recovery model and using experience sampling methodology, we examined the characteristics of employee workday breaks with 95 employees across 5 workdays. In addition, we examined resources as a mediator between break characteristics and well-being. Multilevel analysis results indicated that activities that were preferred and earlier in the work shift related to more resource recovery following the break. We also found that resources mediated the influence of preferred break activities and time of break on health symptoms and that resource recovery benefited person-level outcomes of emotional exhaustion, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior. Finally, break length interacted with the number of breaks per day such that longer breaks and frequent short breaks were associated with more resources than infrequent short breaks.