Culture of the Tea Break
The tea break, a most British pastime is considered by many employers to be a nuisance. A period of time where no work gets done and an unnecessary expense. Studies show that an average worker takes 24 minutes per day to make or fetch tea or coffees. This can cost the business 190 days of productivity over the course of an employee’s lifetime. But is this a cost businesses should worry about, or does the great British tea break ultimately make workers more productive?
Tea breaks remain an important part of office life today but it all started at the turn of the 19th Century. Workers would typically start their day at around five or six AM so employers would let them have a break in the morning to eat and drink tea. It was seen as a way to boost productivity and some employers also repeated the break in the afternoon.
In 1840 the idea of afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Anna found she was getting hungry around four o’clock. Lunch was at midday and dinner wasn't served until eight o’clock so she asked for sandwiches, cake and tea to be served. She started inviting her friends to join her and soon, afternoon tea became fashionable amongst the upper and middle classes.
Tea Breaks and Health
A tea or coffee break, unlike the more formal lunch break is a short period of time when a worker can pop and get a drink, maybe have a quick chat with colleagues and just get away from the desk for a few minutes.
However, getting away from work for a short break has been shown to actually increase productivity in workers and not only that, the social aspect of the tea break can improve bonding with colleagues in the workplace and boost morale.