Balancing the Benefits of Coffee Breaks with Workplace Productivity

By Adam Turner
22 Apr 2018

UK Coffee Week is this month and it focuses on supporting communities across the globe that grow the nation’s favourite pick-me-up.

Closer to home the coffee break has become a staple of most workplaces. Let's explore the benefits of the coffee break to employee morale and productivity. We'll even give you legal advice about the number of breaks you must allow employees each day.

Employee Breaks

The Benefits of Encouraging Regular Coffee Breaks

There are a number of benefits, including:

  • Productivity: Studies have shown that drinking coffee can help reduce stress, improve staff job satisfaction and keep employees alert and focused.
  • Pain Moderation: Research has shown that caffeine can actually alleviate common types of aches and pains suffered by people who have desk jobs.
  • Networking: Regular breaks help foster professional relationships. It’s also a catalyst for helping people to relax and exchange opinions during networking opportunities.

Whatever your setup, one thing is clear – providing regular tea & coffee breaks can help improve the productivity of your employees. Supplying hot drinks also reduces the temptation for them to leave the office to buy a drink.

What You Must Legally Provide

Legally you must provide all employees aged over 18 who work for more than 6 hours in one shift, 1 uninterrupted 20-minute break. However, you don’t legally have to pay the employee for this rest break. As their employer, it’s at your discretion when your employees take their rest breaks.

But they should take their breaks in one go. Workers also have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, for example, if they finish work at 7pm they shouldn’t start work again until 6am the next day. In addition, workers also have the right to either an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week or an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight. However, there are some exemptions, which are:

  • The armed forces, emergency services or police.
  • People in a job where they freely choose what hours they work, such as when there are no set hours.
  • Sea, air and road transport workers.

There are also different rules for young people above school leaving age but below 18. They are eligible for:

  • A 30-minute rest break if they work more than 4.5 hours.
  • Daily rest of 12 hours.
  • Weekly rest of 48 hours.

Expert Advice

Croner is one of the most experienced and respected HR specialists in the business and offer a range of services and support designed to improve efficiency, protect your business and ensure compliance.

For expert support with sourcing and building your business’ HR policies and procedures contact Croner on 0808 145 3490.

About the Author

Image of Croner employee Adam Turner

Adam has been with Croner Reward for 3 years. He has over 15 years’ experience working with various organisations and sectors. He has a strong passion, breadth and depth for job evaluation and salary benchmarking. He has a strong customer focused work ethic, ensuring clients always get the best possible outcome for their organisations from their Reward Projects.

Get expert views & insights delivered directly to your inbox