Does your brain need a micro-break?

According to researchers at the University of Melbourne, as little as 40 seconds looking at a flowering meadow can significantly improve observation and attention.

Employees are expected to be agile and innovative while multi-tasking towards competing deadlines. But, are we working at our best? Professor Leisa Sargent, Faculty of Business and Economics, believes that green micro-breaks could help boost employee performance and workplace efficiency.

“Taking less than a minute to gaze at an open green space, can be more productive than twenty minutes engaged in a work task,” Professor Sargent says. “Sometimes your brain needs a rest and our research has shown that a green break enhances cognitive function.”

The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, gave 150 students a boring, attention-sapping task. The students were asked to press a key as a series of numbers repeatedly flashed on a computer screen, unless that number was three.

They were given a 40-second break midway through the task to view a city rooftop scene. Half the group viewed a flowering meadow green roof, the other half looked out onto a bare concrete roof.

After the break, students who glanced at the greener vista made significantly less errors and demonstrated superior concentration on the second half of the task, compared to those who viewed the concrete roof.

For employees in high density urban settings, access to a green roof could could significantly improve focus and according to Professor Sargent event just looking out the window can make a big difference.

Read the full media release in the Melbourne Newsroom.


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