A Proclamation and Prescription for Rest

By Yolanda Dillard, MTAS

This year’s theme for the Association for Talent Development’s annual conference was Recharge Your Soul. The theme was consistently reinforced in various sessions and other conference activities. The message may have been worded and delivered differently but the key takeaway was that incorporating rest (or breaks) is essential and required to improve our performance. 

You may have noticed an increase in topics related to mental health, burnout, stress, or compassion fatigue. This is not by coincidence as we see from various research studies. 

  • Research by Deloitte found that 77% of workers have experienced burnout at their current job, and the top driver of burnout is a lack of support and recognition from leadership.
  • Indeed revealed that while more than half (52%) of workers reported feeling burned out, there is a disconnect between the age groups. While only 31% of baby boomers identified as feeling burned out, 59% of millennials and 58% of Gen Z respondents felt the same.
  • A higher percentage of women leaders (43%) report feeling burned out compared to men at their level (31%).

Source: https://www.runn.io/blog/burnout-statistics

During his keynote, author Dan Pink presented research from a Danish study that showed how incorporating breaks improved how well students performed on standardized tests. He gave a prescription for breaks and issued a challenge.

  1. Something beats nothing.
  2. Moving beats stationary.
  3. Social beats solo.
  4. Outside beats inside.
  5. Fully detached beats semi-detached.

His challenge: Schedule a 15-minute walk outside with someone you like, talk about anything but work and ditch your phone. Then model this behavior for your team. 

Try this challenge or find one that works better for you. But, according to Pink, no matter what you choose, just remember, that “breaks aren’t deviations from our performance – they’re part of our performance.”