Fr-SYM-1191-5 - Why Do We Take Breaks?Predictors And Mechanisms In Taking Micro-Breaks And Their Relation To Recovery

Recovery and unwinding
1 hour
GM Auditorium
Employee stress and burnout
Recovery and unwinding
Why do we take breaks?
Predictors and mechanisms in taking micro-breaks and their relation to recovery
C. Bosch*, S. Sonnentag 1
1University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
This study investigates how task experiences (i.e., task aversiveness and satisfaction with task performance) relate to taking a micro-break and to feeling recovered after that micro-break. Thereby, we examine need for recovery and desire for self-reward before the micro-break as mediators.
We collected data in a diary study from 120 employees on 429 days using Day Reconstruction Method.
Multi-level analyses revealed that at the day level, the relationship between task aversiveness and taking a micro-break was mediated by desire for self-reward. The relationship between task aversiveness and feeling recovered after a micro-break was mediated by need for recovery. Satisfaction with task performance was neither related to taking a micro-break nor to feeling recovered afterwards. Results suggest that people might not take micro-breaks when needed. Also, being exhausted might render it more difficult to recover during the break. 
The use of self-report data may enhance the risk of common method bias.
Research/Practical Implications
This study enhances understanding of processes taking place before a break and their implications for recovery. The results yield recommendations on how break taking can be improved.  
With desire for self-reward, we draw attention to a second mechanism relevant for breaks besides the obvious need for recovery as suggested by recovery research.

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