Support employee well-being by providing opportunities for recovery and restoration through micro- and macro-breaks from the workplace.
Long working hours and insufficient opportunities for recovery have been found to be associated with cardiovascular and immunologic reactions, reduced sleep duration and negatively impacted circadian rhythm, gastrointestinal issues, unhealthy lifestyle (e.g., excessive alcohol use, poor diet) and adverse health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, subjective health complaints, fatigue, depression and reduced cognitive function. While long hours can be managed for short-term periods, sustained pressure and inadequate work-life balance can quickly lead to stress and burnout, reducing levels of employee productivity, efficiency, performance, creativity and morale. Additionally, research shows that working over weekends inhibits recovery from work-related stress, engaging in work-related activities during evening hours after work relates to lower well-being and use of technology in the evening for work is connected with reduced sleep quality. Many individuals do not use their vacation time, and when they do, just one-in-four employees (27%) indicate truly unplugging from work while on vacation. While the health promoting effects of vacations do fade with time, research indicates that ongoing periods without vacation have adverse health effects, including increased cardiovascular risk, indicating that regular vacations may have a protective effect against chronic work stress.
Time away from work is crucial for recovery and maintenance of long-term health and well-being. Research findings across all types of breaks away from work, such as vacations, weekends, evenings and short periods during the workday, indicate that mentally distancing oneself from work and engaging in restorative activities is linked to employee well-being, specifically higher life satisfaction and mood, maintained workplace performance, lower burnout and fewer health complaints. Research indicates that vacations have positive effects on health and well-being by providing a sustained period of relief from daily stressors, demands and routines, and offering opportunities to engage in restorative and recovering activities, such as social contact with family and friends, hobbies or other interests and physical activity. In addition to engaging in longer recovery breaks such as vacations, research indicates that unwinding from work on a day-to-day basis is critical. It is key for employers to allow sufficient opportunities for employees to psychologically detach and recover over non-work hours, such as weekends, vacations and evenings.
By creating opportunities for both micro- and macro-restoration, employers can help support and foster an engaged workforce that feels rested, valued and motivated, which can have lasting impact on long-term health and engagement.
Provide Micro- and Macro-Breaks (1 point)
The project encourages micro-breaks and macro-breaks among all eligible employees through:
Policy on overtime or working beyond the typical workdays and workday length/assigned daily hours.
Opportunities for micro-breaks during the workday, which include:
- Designated time to break for a meal built into the workday.
- Encouragement of breaks away from the workstation throughout the workday.
- Description of areas available to take micro-breaks within the project boundary or within 300 m [1,000 ft] walk distance from the project boundary.
Paid time off policy for all eligible employees, with a minimum of 20 days per calendar year (not including designated sick days or standard paid holidays), which considers the following:
- How workplace culture encourages employee use of paid time off, including modeling from managers and leadership.
- How occupants are discouraged from engaging in work-related email, phone calls or other work during paid-time off (including weekends).
- Clearly defined policies on sick, vacation, floating holiday, personal and rollover days (addressing accrual policy, cap on rollover days allowed and date by when rollover days must be used).
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