With the recent news of France supposedly “banning people from checking work email after 6pm” there is a renewed interest in the effect of recovery breaks during and after work (in fact the French ban was “only” a labor union agreement involving 250,000 people).
Trougakos and others focused in their research on the impact of lunch breaks on so-called end-of-workday fatigue. It turns out employees often do not have the freedom to use the lunch break to their liking feeling pressure to work through lunch, eat lunch at their desk, or not even have a lunch break at all.
A real lunch break in which you relax and have the freedom to determine the use of your time is good for recovery and really helps to reduce end-of-workday fatigue.
- Higher levels of social activities during the lunch break result in higher end-of-workday fatigue;
- Higher levels of work activities during the lunch break will result in higher end-of-workday fatigue; but
- Higher levels of relaxing activities during the lunch break will result in lower end-of-workday fatigue.
- lunch break autonomy will moderate the negative effects of social activities and work activities (i.e. more fatigue when autonomy is low and less fatigue when autonomy is high).
So, make sure everybody can take a good and relaxing lunch break with the freedom to determine their use of this time.