Frequent short rest breaks from computer work: effects on productivity and well-being at two field sites
Häufige Kurzpausen am Computerarbeitsplatz: Der Einfluß auf Produktivität und Wohlbefinden anhand zweier Feldversuche
Ergonomics, 40, 1997
Computer operators at two work sites (n=73, n=19) were prompted to take three 30-s and one 3-min break from computer work each hour in addition to conventional rest breaks. Some operators were asked to perform stretching exercises during the short breaks. Mood states and musculoskeletal discomfort were assessed at each work site over a 2- or 3-week baseline period and a 4- or 6-week treatment period, respectively. Operator productivity measures were obtained from company records. Operators complied with about half of the added breaks but favoured 3-min breaks over 30-s breaks. No improvement in productivity or well-being was found at the larger work site. At the smaller work site, productivity, eye, leg, and foot comfort all improved when the short breaks included stretching exercises. These results provide evidence that frequent short breaks from continuous computer-mediated work can benefit worker productivity and well-being when the breaks integrate with task demands.