American workers are stuck in a rut. Not only are we taking fewer vacation days, but only one in five office employees even takes a real lunch break (i.e., away from their desk), according to a survey by Right Management. Long hours, few breaks, and monotonous work can zap the creativity out of anyone. Luckily, there's an easy way to get it back: Get up and out.
Positive Effects of Getting Away From the Office
Taking a break for as few as 10 minutes has been proven to help regain energy, decrease stress, and stick with healthy habits. If you can accomplish all that in just 10 minutes, imagine what a whole 24 hours or more away from the office could do for your happiness and performance.
Whether you schedule a Friday lunch meeting or take your entire team away for a working retreat, getting out of the office every now and then has a wealth of benefits:
What You’ll Gain by Taking a Break
Fresh perspective: If you're struggling to solve a tough problem or think of your next innovative idea, it probably has nothing to do with ability. Simply changing up your work environment can change the way you see things and help lead you to that "ah-ha" moment.
Fewer distractions: Ever feel like you worked hard all day but didn't really accomplish anything? It's easy to get sucked into emails, phone calls, and conversations with coworkers that distract you from reaching your goals. An offsite meeting or event will remove those distractions and let you focus on your true priorities.
Team building: Your coworkers probably make up a diverse group of personalities and job functions. Attending an event out of the office is a great way to connect with people you normally wouldn't interact with and even discover new ways you can work together.
How to Recharge
Telecommute. Yahoo's Marissa Mayer famously banned working from home, but it turns out a day of telecommuting could help increase productivity. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that call center volunteers who worked from home completed 13.5% more calls than their in-office coworkers.
Have an Offsite Meeting. A well-planned offsite meeting not only gives you a break from the daily grind, but gives your time more purpose and focus. Whether you book a conference room at a local hotel or reserve part of a restaurant for the afternoon, working offsite will spur creativity without the distractions.
Plan a Team Activity. Spending time with coworkers, even if you aren't working in the traditional sense, can be just as valuable. Team building activities outside the office allow you to have a little fun with your colleagues and better understand them, which leads to higher morale and more open communication once everyone's back to their desks.
Attend a Conference. A great way to travel and meet new people while also gaining a fresh perspective on your industry is by attending industry conferences. Spend your days learning and networking, your nights experiencing the city; and come back to work recharged, full of creativity and motivation.
Just because you're not staring at your computer screen for eight hours doesn't mean you aren't working. Quite the contrary — getting away from the routine of daily office life might be just what you need to stir up fresh ideas and regain the motivation you need to make an impact.