The difference between recharging and goofing off

Taking breaks from your regular activity supposedly enhances your ability to concentrate. Consequently, the clever employer should encourage those who spend their day in front of the computer screen to interrupt their activity from time to time to relax and recharge.

I have a small beach ball in my office, a promotional item left over from some conference. What if I’d throw it up into the air? Today I tried it out: very relaxing – beats walking to the washroom or getting another cup of coffee. But I felt odd.  What would my co-workers think about me? Sure looks like I’m goofing off.

In an office environment, some forms of de-stressing are more accepted that others. Getting coffee is the top accepted de-stresser, I would say. Smoking also features high on the list – need a break, have a smoke. Going for a walk – good, but may take too long in the eyes of the boss.

Many also deal with stress by talking to their fellow employees. Probably better for your health than smoking, but can cause significant disruption of the workflow, particularly if many employees go through a stressful time at once.

Spending five minutes with a beach ball (or a skipping rope? or a mini-putt?) seems like a worthwhile alternative that should be an acceptable form of recharging – and easier to monitor than other common forms of in-office relaxation, such as constantly checking your Twitter feed or Facebook updates. Then, I think, you are basically just goofing off…

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