Take a Moment to Rest—Including During Your Work Day
Workplace break entitlements are in your collective agreement for a reason! Here’s why you should take them and ways to manage your work-load stress.
By Carla Brink, Representative
Before self-care became a trending phrase, I remember Oprah talked about taking care of yourself all the time on her talk show. She spoke about carving out time for yourself to do something that you enjoy—something that relaxes or refreshes you.
This is obviously great advice that we sometimes fail to follow when things get too busy. But it is also important advice at work when it comes to your work-day breaks.
You need to take the time to take a break when you are at work, even when it is busy. The workplace break entitlements are in your collective agreement for a reason!
More often than I would like, I hear comments from members who skip their breaks. “I’m too busy.” “There’s too much to do.” “The workload is unreasonable.” “Someone called in sick.” “I’m afraid I’ll get in trouble if everything is not done by the end of my shift.” These are just some of the common reasons I hear.
It is essential that you take a break at work for a number of reasons.
4 Reasons for Taking Your Break
- Health and safety – Your body needs a break. Having a break reduces the risk of injury and other errors related to health and safety
- Refresh time – Your body and mind need a little time to calm down and rest. Have a snack or catch a breath of fresh air outside. You’ll likely be even more productive after your break.
- Following the collective agreement – You are not only allowed and entitled to take your breaks, you are required to.
- Unhealthy environment – Not taking your break can create an unhealthy environment where there is an unrealistic expectation of what can be accomplished in a given amount of time. In the long run this is not helpful for anyone involved.
If you are afraid to take your breaks due to your workload, there are some things you can do to help alleviate your anxiety.
6 Ways to Manage Workload Stress
- Prioritize tasks.
- Keep your coworkers and supervisor informed of what wasn’t completed.
- Leave a note in your work area for the next shift.
- Document any unusual conditions that interfere with your ability to complete your assigned tasks.
- Ask your supervisor to authorize overtime.
- Ask your supervisor to prioritize what needs to be completed and what can be completed the next day or by the next shift.
If you are working at a reasonable pace to the best of your ability within your scheduled hours of work and take your breaks, more than that should not be expected. If you have any questions about your breaks or have any problems related to breaks, please contact your union steward or representative.