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    "Make it the done thing": an exploration of attitudes towards rest breaks, productivity and wellbeing while working from home

    Walker, Lucy ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1934-9312, Braithwaite, Elizabeth C, Jones, Marc V, Suckling, Steve and Burns, Danielle (2023) "Make it the done thing": an exploration of attitudes towards rest breaks, productivity and wellbeing while working from home. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. ISSN 0340-0131

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    Objective Taking regular rest breaks while working positively impacts productivity and wellbeing. While home and hybrid working styles have become a popular choice for employees, the impact of, and perceptions towards, taking breaks while working at home is poorly understood. The current research aimed to explore attitudes towards taking rest breaks while working from home and capture levels of breaks taken, wellbeing and productivity in a sample of UK white-collar workers. Methods A mixed method approach was applied where self-report data from an online survey were gathered from individuals (N = 140) from one organisation. Open-ended questions regarding attitudes and perceptions towards rest break behaviours were obtained. Further quantitative measures included the number of breaks taken while working from home, levels of productivity (measured by the Health and performance Presenteeism subscale) and mental wellbeing (measured by the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental wellbeing scale). Both quantitative and qualitative analysis approaches were applied. Results Qualitative responses indicated two overarching themes (1) Personal and (2) Organisational sat above four further themes including Movement outside, Structure of home working, Home environment and Digital presence. Additionally, quantitative findings indicated that the number of breaks taken outside was associated with positive changes in wellbeing. Conclusion Employers could aim to support employees working from home in taking outside breaks through flexible working patterns, authentic leadership, and a change in company social norms around break behaviours. Such organisational changes could help to improve workforce productivity and wellbeing.

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