In almost all organizations there are well (or not) equipped areas dedicated to employees where they can enjoy a little break from work commitments. This post will not be dedicated to which factors may make a better break area, as presence of newspapers, TV news or free vending machines for sodas, but rather to point out some common behaviors and dynamics that have characterized and certainly characterizes your coffee break.My assumption is that every coffee break lives with oscillation from having your space for relaxing and the one of being part of social time; first is actual research of detachment and willingness to have a mental relax , while the second is the answer to the need of feeling part of a company by joining conversations with colleagues. The difference between two stems from a basic element : do you want to be alone or with others during your break? In the first case the break is very short, you tend to get something to eat or drink without thinking too much on the choice , nor paying attention to whom or what is going on around. The only interactional exchange is done by a ” hello , how are you? ” and the not even noticed answers of the interlocutor. So, you want to fly away and loose work tension. In this case the result is high in terms of rest and very low in terms of aggregation. Moreover, from the point of view of having rest, for the fact that you had a short break you do not even have a benefit; thus it means that you would be immediately ready to do another break . When you go to have a break with a group or at least with another person, your rest tends to be longer and clearly increases the component of socialization, but certainly not level of distraction and mental rest. Why? just think about the fact that you have to pay attention to what the person with you says, what wants to eat / drink; often, unless you are both synchronized, needs of one are not those of the other. Additionally in these cases, breaks are agreed and established almost like setting an appointment on your calendar . In short, too much similar to a meeting than leisure time with component of relax that it is absolutely absent.
It is definitely not easy to find a balance and it is absolutely up to you to find it understanding when you are under stress and need a break alone and when instead there is the chance of a longer time for socialization . Your organization won’t tell you what kind of break you need and when; it’s all in your maturity and personal knowledge of your up and downs also in terms of work performance and focus.