What makes a good work break? Off-job and on-job recovery as predictors of employee health

Ind Health. 2020 Apr 2;58(2):142-152. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2019-0097. Epub 2019 Aug 17.

Abstract

Recovery from work today seems to be crucial for health care employees' health, so it is important to uncover ways how to facilitate and improve adequate recovery from work. Focusing on the recovery concept of detachment from work, this study investigated associations between detachment after work and during work breaks and individual health among health care employees from a general hospital in the Netherlands. An online cross-sectional survey study was conducted comprising a sample of 368 health care employees of different departments. Controlling for demographics in hierarchical regression analyses, results showed that when health care employees experienced more cognitive detachment after work, they reported less concentration problems. Second, when employees experienced more emotional detachment after work, they reported less feelings of emotional exhaustion, less depressive feelings, and less sleep problems. Finally, in case employees experienced more physical detachment after work, they reported less concentration problems, less feelings of emotional exhaustion, less sleep problems and less physical health problems. No significant associations were found for detachment during work breaks. In conclusion, findings add to current recovery research showing that detachment after work is an important predictor for health care employees' health.

Keywords: Fatigue; Psychosocial stress; Sleep; Work hours; Workload.