Simply take a break - Bye bye work stress
17 January 2023

Just take a break - Labour law & expert advice

Taking a break at work is enormously important. Not only for a healthy body, but also for healthy togetherness. And yet: simply taking a break is hard work for many people. A high stress level, too many deadlines and enormous pressure of expectations make many employees work through their working days completely - huge mistake! People are not machines. We have summarised here why breaks are worthwhile, what the law stipulates, tips from experts and which tool is as flexible as your break habits.

It pays to take a break - experts also advise

"Unlike the brain, the stomach tells us when it is empty. Albert Einstein already knew that. Unfortunately, many employees remember this wisdom far too rarely. And why? Because of false commitment! Because employers do not recognise motivation and commitment to work by how long their employees work without a break, but rather by how productivity can be increased with regular breaks. In the end, the workers gain nothing - except more stress, more dissatisfaction and, in the worst case, even health problems (keyword: burnout).

Experts therefore strongly advise taking several small breaks of five to ten minutes to ensure productive and creative work. Ideally, you should take a small break every 90 minutes. Talk to your colleagues, get some fresh air for a few minutes or do some stretching exercises. Anything that is good for you and has nothing to do with your actual work is allowed. With time-out intervals like these, you can really lower your stress level. Do you work in an office? Switch off all sources of interference during the break: Telephone, e-mails or even a "Do not disturb!" sign on the office door will give you a well-deserved breathing space. This may not always be easy in stressful situations, but it is all the more effective if you can get back to work with a clear head after the break.

6 signs that you need a break

Your body sends you unmistakable signals when it is time for a break. Therefore, pay a little more attention to your "engine". Because: In these cases it is time for a break - for you too:

Labour law: What the legislator prescribes

Not only does your body tell you when it is time for a break, but the law also has strict rules about when you MUST take a break. This is regulated in the Working Hours Act § 4. If you work between six and nine hours a day, you must take a fixed rest period of at least (!) 30 minutes. If you work more than nine hours a day, you must interrupt your work for at least 45 minutes. And: The law requires a rest break after six hours at the latest - this applies even to the most dedicated workaholic.

However, employees can divide their breaks into several sections - the break does not have to be taken in one piece. A small example calculation: You start work at 8 o'clock in the morning. Then, according to the ArbZG, you must take a break of 30 minutes at 2 p.m. at the latest. However, you can divide this half hour into two 15-minute sections - for example, one break from 12:30 to 12:45 and the next from 13:45 to 14:00. But be careful: A break block must be at least 15 minutes long!

Taking breaks - from breathing exercises to talking to yourself

You have the feeling that you need a break right now? With a few immediate measures you can give your body and mind the regeneration they need. Even simple breathing exercises can lead to great recovery during a short break. Stand up straight and breathe deeply into your belly through your nose. Count to four as you inhale, then briefly hold your breath and count to six. Then slowly exhale the air from your mouth while counting to eight in your mind. With a few repetitions, frustration or anger will be blown away in no time.

And if that doesn't help? Then laugh! Scientists have found out that laughter reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and lifts the mood. You are sure to find one or two funny clips on the catchy video portals. Or: get your colleagues involved and - in a very old-school way - simply tell a few jokes. You can also take the opportunity to really shake yourself out, stretch your arms in the air and really stretch your body. Because: a rolling stone gathers no moss. This is also true in the office, where many people cramp up when they sit concentrated in front of a computer for a long time.

You don't have any colleagues in the office or work alone in your home office without a conversation partner? Never mind! You always have the most competent conversation partner with you: yourself. Talk to yourself! Seriously. According to studies, self-talk can increase performance and lead to faster problem solving. They reduce stress and provide clarity of mind.

Where there's no executioner, there's no judge? Not at all!

The best break regulations are only half as good if they are not observed and documented. Because: With the BAG ruling on the time recording obligation the entire working time (including all breaks) must be recorded exactly. Do you still rely on Excel lists or handwritten timesheets? Get rid of this further source of stress and rely on a modern, web-based solution for project time recording. With ZEP, you can record your times conveniently via browser or app - the statutory rest and break times are recorded automatically. For you, this means less stress and more time. As a ZEP user, you don't have to worry about the complexity of legal requirements. The functions in our tool are as flexible as your break habits. You configure your days in ZEP the way you need to, while complying with all legal rules and regulations - quite intuitively. Test our solution for recording working and project time now without obligation for at least 30 days. Right here!