Despite a plethora of research into work-life balance and working hours, UK workers are still bad at taking breaks. Worrying trends are emerging, reflecting the fact that many employees in the UK are working continuously throughout the day… and into the evening.

New research involving 2051 office workers shows that breaks are not taken seriously enough – or in many cases, not at all.

Workfront reports that four trends illustrate concern about employees:

1. Only 20% office workers take 45-60 minutes for their lunch break. 57% take up to 30 minutes – or have no break at all.

2. Delaying calls of nature – 52% participants had delayed visiting the toilet during the last week… to meet a work deadline.

3. 77% workers log into work outside of usual business hours – 47% do this daily.

4. A maximum of 40% of employees’ time is focussed on their main duties thanks to distracting emails, phone calls and meetings.

Addressing these patterns will increase productivity, motivation and satisfaction. Workfront suggests four ways to take control and win back time:

1. Protect prime time – when are you at your best… first thing, late afternoon? Protect this prime time to do the work which is most urgent and important. Book uninterrupted time within your diary – and make sure that your colleagues know about this. Stick to it! (22% participants thought that this idea would improve their productivity.)

2. Schedule set times to respond to emails – 40% workers said that excessive emails affect their productivity. Resist answering emails continuously throughout the day.

3. Agree communication expectations – guidelines regarding expected response times, use of ‘reply all’ and ‘cc’ features plus handling urgent communication. This will enable you to set personal boundaries around emails and messages.

4. Project management software will streamline and prioritise communication regarding the projects you’re working on.

“It can be difficult to make time for a break when you’re very busy,” says Louise Chilcott, Business Development Executive at BTR International. “Our team works tirelessly to ensure that international relocations take place as smoothly as possible.

“This often means working with partners and colleagues across the world, which may involve different customs requirements, cultures and time zones.

“This means that our team must be focussed and flexible at all times. We find that lots of small breaks help concentration and efficiency. Above all, they contribute to efficient international relocations.”

If you would like to discuss your organisation’s international relocation policy or your assignees’ requirements, contact Louise or call +44 (0)158

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