In the hustle and bustle of daily life, rest during the workday is often underestimated. However, it is crucial for both our physical and mental health, as well as for improving our productivity and job satisfaction.
In this article, we explore how proper rest can boost work performance and guide us towards a healthier balance between our professional and personal lives.
Discover why rest is not a luxury but an essential piece to achieve an optimal work-life balance.
Rest time between work shifts
To ensure employee well-being, organizations must promote practices that care for both their physical and emotional health. Among these measures is rest during the workday, which is regulated by Article 34 of the Workers’ Statute.
It is worth noting that although the most common workday duration is 8 hours, the Workers’ Statute establishes that the duration will be negotiated in collective agreements or individual contracts. Nonetheless, the maximum duration of the regular workday will be 40 hours per week.
With this provision, various rest periods are established as breaks during the workday to preserve employee care:
Rest between work shifts
Between the end of one workday and the start of the next, there must be at least 12 hours of rest. This period is mandatory regardless of whether overtime is performed.
In full workdays – those that exceed six hours – a minimum rest of 15 minutes must be ensured, which will be considered as effective work time.
As for split workdays, only one interruption in the daily schedule is allowed, unless otherwise established by a collective agreement.
In the case of workers under 18 years old, a rest period of at least 30 minutes is required when their continuous daily shifts exceed four and a half hours. It is worth remembering that for underage workers, their workday cannot exceed 8 hours of effective work.
Workers are entitled to a minimum weekly rest of 36 consecutive hours. Generally, these rests occur during the weekends, on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, it is possible to accumulate the rest over a fourteen-day period.
In the event of an irregular distribution of the work schedule throughout the year, daily and weekly rests must be respected. It is important to notify this situation at least 5 days before providing the work schedule.
Rest in shift work
The rest between work shifts can be reduced to a minimum of seven hours if it is not possible to respect the twelve hours of rest when changing the worker’s shift, provided that the difference is compensated in the following days.
Furthermore, it is possible to modify the weekly rest and accumulate it in periods of four weeks or separate it from the corresponding full-day rest to enjoy it on another day of the week.
It is also established that no worker will perform night shifts for more than two consecutive weeks unless it is a voluntary assignment.
The Workers’ Statute guarantees that employees can enjoy adequate rest periods, thus protecting their well-being and balance.
The importance of rest for productivity
The importance of rest for productivity during rest periods in the workday is fundamental. Although it may seem contradictory, taking time to rest and disconnect from work can have a positive impact on productivity and work performance.
A study by Stanford University showed that working more than 50 hours per week and not taking the stipulated breaks can lead to a significant decrease in long-term productivity due to exhaustion and fatigue.
Therefore, here are some key reasons why rest is essential for boosting productivity:
Physical and mental recovery
Rest allows workers to recover physically and mentally from sustained effort at work. Rest periods during the workday provide relief for muscles and the mind, reducing fatigue and improving concentration and creativity.
Reduction of stress and anxiety
Breaks between work shifts act as pressure valves for stress and anxiety during working hours. By releasing tensions, workers can face challenges with a more positive and productive attitude.
Prevention of burnout
Ignoring the need for rest can lead to digital burnout and a significant deterioration in work performance. Constantly working without taking breaks can deplete employees’ mental resources, resulting in a decrease in the quality of work.
Recording rest during the workday
According to Royal Decree Law 8/2019, organizations are required to keep a detailed record of working hours, and consequently, the relevant breaks.
As we have seen, the Workers’ Statute establishes the need for breaks and rest periods between shifts, whether daily, weekly, etc. Therefore, it is not only important to enforce it in companies and apply it to workers’ schedules but even more so, to be able to demonstrate compliance with these rest periods during possible labor inspections.
To facilitate this task and automate the process, time tracking software like Workmeter can be used, which offers various functionalities to supervise compliance with the work schedule and breaks by employees.
With this tool, entry and exit times, hours worked, breaks, and rests are automatically collected and in real-time. Furthermore, the information is accessible through the cloud, allowing for the secure retention and consultation of data for at least the 4 years required by law.
Additionally, at WorkMeter, the health and well-being of employees are fundamental considerations when designing the functionalities of our solutions. For this reason, given the demands of the new legislation regarding breaks and digital disconnection, we have incorporated disconnection rules based on the calculation of employees’ work times.
If we detect that a worker has been using the computer for an extended period, we can configure an alert for the system to notify them to take a break, stand up, and rest their eyes from the screen.
We can also remind employees not to respond to emails or calls outside of working hours, protecting them from digital burnout and device hyperconnectivity.
These types of tools will help your teams ensure rest periods between shifts, also improving employees’ well-being and helping you comply with the legal requirements set by the Workers’ Statute.