12 Reminders for Employees to Take Breaks From Their Screens

06/17/2016 09:56 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your employees are looking at a computer screen, smartphone or conference room display all day. Yes, it's part of the job, but the constant strain on their eyes and mind can actually hinder productivity. Here's how to remind them that it's OK to step away from their desks from time to time.

A. Have Friendly Fitbit Competitions

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My team encourages each other to take time away from the computer screen by participating in a friendly Fitbit competition. We challenge each other every day to walk as much as possible and stay active. This means walking meetings, lunches away from the office, and going to each other's desks rather than sending an email. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Show Them the Science

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You could try the health angle. Optometrists love to talk about this stuff. You can find a lot of infographics, FAQs and other resources online that talk about how screens can fatigue and stress the eyes leading to headaches and other symptoms. Few people are comfortable knowing they're doing that to their body, even if they can't feel it. Some doctor's advice could make them take better breaks. - Adam Steele, The Magistrate

A. Have Walking Meetings

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Have your meetings while taking a short walk around the office. It's a great way to break the monotony of the office, be productive and get a little exercise. There's a creative boost you get from changing scenery and getting your blood going a little bit. You also get to step away from your computer, stretch your legs and get some movement in your day. All good things. - Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell

A. Get Them Outside

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We encourage our employees to get out and walk around the city. We want them to take 15 minutes and grab a coffee down the street or get a co-worker to take a walk. Not only does it get them away from the computer and avoid burnout, but it gets them outside in the sunshine which gives them a boost of energy. They come back feeling great and ready to work. - Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

A. Have Employees Share Their Hobbies at Work

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We have a close-knit technical team, and our colleagues have organically started to bring their hobbies to work and teach them to their colleagues. Oneemployee gave skateboarding lessons a few times a day, and another taught nearly the entire company how to juggle bowling pins in just a few weeks. It avoids burnout and builds community. Employees know it's OK to have fun, too. - Jeremy Kenisky, Geomedia, Inc.

A. Lead by Example

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Your employees probably don't feel free to move about, take breaks and recharge. They probably didn't have that kind of freedom in previous jobs. You need to lead by example and show them that they have permission to step away from their computers as necessary. Go for walks with them if need be. You can also encourage them to do some of their work on good old pen and paper, if applicable. - Ismael Wrixen, FE International

A. Foster Workplace Interaction

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I've designed my office to foster interaction away from the computer screen and highly encourage the team to take advantage of it. This can be as simple as creating a coffee station in the break room or designating a "creative corner" where people can sit on a couch instead of at their desks. It prompts people to get to know each other, and it helps people feel more comfortable and at ease. - Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

A. Schedule Frequent, Short Breaks

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If you have three or four short breaks throughout the day (about 15 minutes each), it should be all your team needs to unwind together and ready return to work fresh. -Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

A. Create a Company Library

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Reading is one of the most relaxing activities to engage in while keeping your mind sharp. By creating a company library, you can offer employees the option to take more periodic breaks by reading in a creative common space. This solution would not only be cost effective for the company but provide employees an effective escape. - Anthony Pezzotti, Knowzo.com

A. Have Lightweight Exercise Equipment at the Office

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Sure, foosball and ping-pong give you a break from your work, but these activities do little for your physical body. Why not encourage a few pushups or situps, or bring some light kettlebells, medicine balls or ab rollers to the office? These activities don't require you to break a sweat but help your posture, increase blood flow, and help work out all the ailments that hinder office life. - Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

A. Make Sure They Take a Lunch Break

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I encourage my employees to get out of the office or at least away from their desk for a lunch break every day. On top of this, many of our employees work remotely and this allows them the freedom to make their own schedules as long as they meet their deadlines. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

A. Have Distractions in the Workplace

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If you look at the most successful businesses and brands today, their workplace environment is changing. Now, you will find game rooms, cafeterias and gyms. The more people enjoy their working environment, the more they will enjoy being there and getting work done. Having "good" distractions in the workplace is also a great way to get people active and away from their desks throughout the day. - Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.