Not taking a break for an extended period or being stress-resistant at work is not cool anymore. Actually, it never was, but for some of us, saying that we know how to deal with good stress or stress is motivating us was a form of praise. Stress being a great motivator is a myth. Maybe for some people, it works in some situations, but even for them, it is important to realize if it leads to burnout or can cause them harm. An example of "good stress" is given in Gabor Mate's book When the Body Says No; specifically, the example refers to a patient who worked 11 hours a day and considered stress good and a form of motivation until he got sick.
Stress is inevitable, but it's essential to listen to our body and know when we need to take a break. Also, breaks will help us overcome or even avoid burnout or other diseases.
What is burnout and what are the types of burnout?
Everyone experiences burnout at some point in life - it's a fact. And as you probably know (or can guess), not taking a break can lead to burnout. If you're feeling like you're constantly overwhelmed and stressed, you might be experiencing burnout. This can be the result of extended emotional, physical, or mental strain and is often associated with work.
There are three main types of burnout: overload burnout, under-challenge burnout, and neglect burnout.
The first one, as the name says, refers to overworking. When you're burned out from working too much, you might risk your health or personal life in the process, and you'll probably complain a lot.
The second form of burnout might appear because you're not being challenged enough. Signs of under-challenge burnout include feeling unappreciated, bored, and like you're not learning anything new. When you're not passionate or enjoying your work, it's easy to detach yourself from your job. This can lead to cynicism, avoidance of responsibility, and overall disengagement.
The signs of neglect burnout are easy to spot, for example, employees tend to be passive and unmotivated.
Burnout can be caused by many things, but fatigue is the most common. If your job takes your energy and focus, it can lead to burnout. As an air traffic controller, your job carries a lot of responsibility and requires intense focus. In Air Traffic Control and other scheduling-critical industries, it is essential to take breaks to avoid burnout and fatal mistakes.
Why taking a break must be on your to-do list?
As we mentioned already, the break is a must, you must integrate it into your personal life, as well as your professional one. If you are an air traffic controller, you work no more than one and a half to two hours at a time before you must have a 30-minute break. So breaks in this job are mandatory, but it doesn’t matter if you work in shifts or not. You should really take that break, your mind and body deserve it.
So why should you do that?
Having regular breaks has been proven to be beneficial for both your body and mind. Taking a break can help improve your energy levels, productivity and concentration. You don’t need to take an extended break to stay focused – even planned, shorter breaks can be highly effective.
It’s also crucial in helping you to recover from stress, which can have a positive knock-on effect on your overall performance.
How will rostering automation streamline your productivity and well-being?
If you're a shift worker or an air traffic controller, some platforms can help you out. For example, the Tactical Rostering feature from SkyRoster can translate your scheduled shift into sequences of time on position and breaks down to 5-minute intervals. You can set and control the rules to be auto-checked and fulfilled, from fatigue management, worked time, and working position requirements to banned working position cycles (like EXE-BRK-EXE). You can also easily monitor your free days, change shifts with colleagues that have the same competency levels, and take leave days within the app whenever you need to take a break.
Even more, integrating Leave Management directly within the Workforce Scheduling process makes it much easier for employees to request their well-deserved leave days and for workforce planners to do the shift schedule around the staff's availability, accommodating their planned or unplanned leaves and working preferences.
Workforce management automation comes with another major benefit: auto-tracking employees' fatigue levels and balancing workload accordingly - not even remotely achievable using Excel for staff scheduling.
On a final note
Not taking a break will break your well-being and productivity. Be mindful of how you feel and give yourself a break. It'll give you the energy boost you need to concentrate at work and relax in your personal life.