I n Finland, a statutory “coffee break” is 12.5 minutes long. Although we usually go for a quarter, or 20 minutes, if there’s a cake. Most companies today have adopted a freedom under responsibility model which means that when one can take a small detour from their work. When it comes to breaks, there are many different variations. As long as the break works in line with the company’s policy or work culture, it usually works pretty well.
Although breaks are necessary, they can also be a time-thief for the company. Especially if they are utilized. Coffee breaks can, in the worst case, mean lost working time and less productivity. In the end, it has a direct impact on daily net profit.
Let’s say we have a team of 10 people, all of whom go for a coffee break at 9 am. The break progresses in the usual order until just before the end. Then a lagger slides in, late about pages. We can call him Bob. Bob has had a job and worked in the field and therefore arrives a little later. Bob is a social person and would prefer not to sit alone. He possesses the gift of speech, so he entertains the group with everything from a dose of complaints to fun anecdotes, everything from log dancing to caravans. The spicy social context allows the break to extend over time, with another 15 minutes in addition to regular time.
In the coffee breaks, there are several social arguments that the course of events here is acceptable. In principle, Bob has his back free and responsibility falls on the group, who in turn should have returned to work after the completion of time. At the end of the day, we see that we have a common balance of -2.5 hours of efficient working time. How could it be so?