Worker’s rights, under OSHA, change quite a lot in each generation. Now, breaks are mandated for the amount of time worked, and this protection is designed to keep employees from exhaustion. These policies are also beneficial to the employer, as most work-related injuries are caused by employees just being tired. Providing your employees regular breaks and installing policies to ensure that breaks are taken at regular intervals will help to keep workplace injuries low.
Say It Like You Mean It
Changing break policy is not typically accepted, even when it means more breaks for your employees. Many employees believe they are satisfied with the current break structure, even if it means they are tired at work. Additionally, very few employees are wary to be seen as taking advantage of the changes to slack off, or do less than usual. From an employee perspective, changes to the break policy in the favor of employees will be seen as something the business is begrudgingly rolling out in response to external pressures, and should not be taken seriously. Basically, if your employees get the slightest inclination that they will be punished for taking breaks or rewarded for not taking breaks, then they will be far less likely to take breaks at all.
Ensure Breaks Are Taken
Again, this may be hard to believe, but resistance to additional break time is very real. In order to see an increase in breaks taken from longstanding employees, you should brainstorm motivating strategies to increase adherence. Your organization may even find that it is necessary to somehow incentivize breaks in some way, or perhaps create a structure that forces compliance in the initial stages. For production-based roles creating a schedule for breaks throughout the day can be very effective. Some industries have even resorted to a part-time employee that rotates through employee breaks throughout the middle of the day to ensure breaks are taken, and that stations are always covered. Find a solution that motivates your most tenured employees, and the rest are sure to follow suit, which will greatly reduce your risk of workplace injury.
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