The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, indicated that taking "microbreaks" helped the study participants maintain their energy level. This, in turn, helped them meet work demands and engage with work better.
"A microbreak is, by definition, short," said researcher Sophia Cho, Assistant Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University.
"Our study shows that it is in a company's best interest to give employees autonomy in terms of taking microbreaks when they are needed -- it helps employees effectively manage their energy and engage in their work throughout the day," Cho added.
Microbreaks include discretionary activities such as having a snack, chatting with a colleague, stretching or working on a crossword puzzle.
The new paper is based on two studies that explored issues related to microbreaks in the workday.
For the first study, the research team surveyed nearly 100 workers in the US. The participants were asked to fill out two surveys per day for 10 consecutive workdays. The surveys were completed in the morning and at the end of workday.
The second study included 222 workers in South Korea. This study had participants complete three surveys per day for five workdays. Study participants completed the surveys in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the workday.
Survey questions in both studies were aimed at collecting data about each study participant's sleep quality, levels of fatigue, as well as their engagement with their work and their experiences at the workplace that day.
In the studies, the researchers analysed the survey data with statistical tools to examine day-to-day fluctuations in sleep quality, fatigue, work behaviour and engagement in varying types of microbreaks.