Title

Comparing Relaxation Versus Mastery Microbreak Activity: A Within-Task Recovery Perspective

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Psychological Reports

Publication Date

2-1-2021

Abstract

Recovery from work is generally thought to occur outside of the workplace. However, employees may also have the opportunity to recover within the work day via microbreaks during demanding work tasks. Two major strategies for mitigating fatigue include psychological detachment (i.e., mentally disengaging) and replenishing motivational incentives via positive affect. This study examined whether 40-s “microbreaks” improve work recovery and to what extent different microbreak content (mastery vs. relaxation activities) boost performance. Using an experimental study, we randomly assigned individuals to receive a relaxation microbreak (n = 59), a mastery microbreak (n = 68), or no break (n = 72) in the middle of a monotonous work task and assessed work performance. Microbreaks improved task performance and within-task recovery, but only for psychological detachment (not positive affect). Mastery breaks also resulted in more psychological detachment than relaxation breaks, but this increased detachment did not explain performance differences between break types. These results build on existing recovery theories by further demonstrating within-task recovery and provide practical implications for organizations to consider the importance of microbreaks.

Volume

124

Issue

1

First Page

248

Last Page

265

DOI

10.1177/0033294119900347

ISSN

00332941

E-ISSN

1558691X

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