Professional Jeweler Archive: Another Old Idea Is New Again

May 2001

For Your Staff/Personal Best

Another Old Idea Is New Again

Skipping lunch and breaks is stylish among high-achievers. But it makes them less productive

Remember the old-fashioned coffee break? Once a ubiquitous feature of the workplace, it was a time when workers actually stopped working for 10-15 minutes. They’d get up, walk around and maybe have a snack or cup of coffee before going back to work.

The managers who invented that quaint idea may have known precisely what they were doing. Physical and mental conditioning – including regular, rhythmic movement between work and rest – helps maintain high performance levels, say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz of LGE Performance Systems, Orlando, FL, a consulting firm that applies athletic training principles to the workplace.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Loehr and Schwartz say the real enemy of high performance is not overwork, but the absence of oscillation – a regular balance of work and rest. Without rest, workers deplete their reserves and become prone to burnout and breakdown.

Oscillating to a Solution

So if work is sedentary, the work break should involve exercise. “Have you ever found the solution to a vexing problem while doing something mindless such as jogging, working in the garden or singing in the shower?” ask Loehr and Schwartz.

A regular pattern of work and rest may be particularly important in the workplace. Unlike athletes, who compete a few hours a day and whose careers last a few years, employees are engaged for eight or more hours a day and their careers typically last 40-50 years.

Bottom line? Get enough sleep. Eat lightly and often. Exercise. Get a hobby.

You knew this, right?

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications