Introduce microbreaks into your working day

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Whilst the thought of lockdown last year came with images of lie-ins and more time to yourself, the reality was the opposite.

We’ve ended up having more frequent, shorter meetings whilst replying to more emails outwith normal working hours (Danielle Kost, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge). The back-to-back interaction keeps us busy but we often go hours without a break.

Since this has been uncovered, there’s been an increase in digital wellbeing tools for remote workers. This could be an alarm that reminds you to take a break or more innovative features like a virtual commute with built-in reflection time.

Last year, Microsoft introduced the first of many wellbeing apps to Teams – Breakthru.

What is Breakthru?

Breakthru is an app which guides you through a two-minute microbreak. The aim of the microbreak is to help you stay refreshed and productive through the day, boosting your mood in the process.

It’s an immersive wellbeing tool, so it displays graphics, plays sounds and asks that you stand up and follow the movements displayed on the screen. It ends up feeling like a lighthearted cross between stretching and medidation.

Although it’s coined as restorative, it’s also quite playful and has been made available to schools for free.

How do you use Breakthru?

You can add Breakthru as an app – just select ‘Apps’ on Teams and search for Breakthru. Read the Microsoft guide if you’re unsure how to add an app to Teams.

If you’d like to set a reminder to take a microbreak using Breakthru, choose between the following options:

  • to start your day
  • a mid-day break
  • an afternoon pick me up
  • to end your day

You’re not limited to scheduled breaks and can go into the app at any point for a self-paced two-minute immersive microbreak.

You can also type @breakthru into a Teams chat. This could be a one-to-one, group or meeting chat. Selecting one of the four themes, you can gift one or several of your colleagues a microbreak.

Add a note, select ‘Preview’ then ‘Give’ to insert into the meeting chat.

Your colleagues will see your note and have the option to ‘Begin’ the microbreak or learn about the Breakthru beforehand.

Breakthru delivers mental and physical wellbeing impact as we help people combat sedentary behavior, modulate their sense of time, and build new restorative habits. If you’ve organised a meeting this month, why not gift your colleagues a microbreak as:

  • an icebreaker
  • a mid-hour break
  • at the close of the meeting

And no, you don’t see each other stretching on camera!

Read more about Breakthru on the Microsoft app store.

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