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Functional work breaks in a high-demanding work environment: An experimental field study

  • Work breaks are known to have positive effects on employees' health, performance and safety. Using a sample of twelve employees working in a stressful and cognitively demanding working environment, this experimental field study examined how different types of work breaks (boxing, deep relaxation and usual breaks) affect participants' mood, cognitive performance and neurophysiological state compared to a control condition without any break. In a repeated measures experimental design, cognitive performance was assessed using an auditory oddball test and a Movement Detection Test. Brain cortical activity was recorded using electroencephalography. Individual's mood was analysed using a profile of mood state. Although neurophysiological data showed improved relaxation of cortical state after boxing (vs. 'no break' and 'deep relaxation'), neither performance nor mood assessment showed similar results. It remains questionable whether there is a universal work break type that has beneficial effects for all individuals. Practitioner Summary: Research on work breaks and their positive effects on employees' health and performance often disregards break activities. This experimental field study in a stressful working environment investigated the effect of different work break activities. A universal work break type that is beneficial for this workplace could not be identified.

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Document Type:Article
Author:André Scholz, Argang Ghadiri, Usha Singh, Johannes Wendsche, Theo Peters, Stefan Schneider
Parent Title (English):Ergonomics
First Page:255
Last Page:264
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=28679350
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Date of first publication:2017/07/10
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 331 Arbeitsökonomie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 65 Management, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit / 658 Allgemeines Management
Entry in this database:2017/07/13