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  • Writer's pictureMaya

Are You Tracking Your Employee Breaks?

Your employees are the face and heart of your restaurant, which is why it’s so important to cultivate an atmosphere where they can work their hardest and do their best every single day. Though rest periods may seem counterintuitive to productivity, ensuring that your staff gets the recommended amount of breaks per shift is actually integral to a smooth operation. Ensure and track employee breaks with crucial employee management software that improves any business’s success.

According to state and federal laws, mandates surrounding employee breaks separate them from allotted food time. Meals are usually thirty minutes long, completely absolve the employee from any potential duties during that time, and aren’t paid or counted toward total hours worked, including overtime. Meanwhile breaks typically last between 5 to 20 minutes and are considered compensated work hours that account for part of their timecard.

Federal laws don’t require that restaurants give their employees a break, but they do have regulations in place for restaurants that choose to allot time off.

What good are breaks?

Long periods of work without respite causes stress and exhaustion. Giving employees a chance to rest during long shifts actually improves their productivity. A rest, even a short one, boosts their mood and gives them a chance to recharge before the rest of the day. It ultimately improves decision-making and motivation as well as creativity, all of which provides a much-needed second wind that keeps productivity high.

Everyone needs the time and space to mentally recharge before tackling the second half of a long day. In short, breaks are necessary, so learn how to allocate them appropriately to maximize efficiency throughout the day.

When should staff take breaks?

When, how and where employees take their breaks is pretty much up to you. For example, if you don’t let staff members on their phones during work, consider allowing it during break time; if people take the opportunity to smoke, designate how far away from the building they should stand or create a specific smoking area. Decide if you want anyone, or certain employees, to take breaks together. Can they get free or discounted meals during that time? That will affect your taxes but potentially improve morale.

Time tracking and advanced restaurant analytics are a great resource to use when determining employee break times. If you review sales data by day, hour and even employee then you can determine peak times and plan breaks around that, or at least make sure you have appropriate coverage for a rush. Alternatively, you might want to schedule more breaks during low traffic hours, or strategically spread them out during normal busyness.

How do you get staff on board?

The key to a happy staff is communication and mutual respect. You may understand why you’re setting break times the way that you are, but it won’t help morale the way you might intend unless you communicate your expectations to everyone. Lay it out as early as the initial training sessions so there’s no surprises whatsoever. Make sure employees know their rights too, as this fosters better trust between staff and management, which encourages everyone to work harder. Together you can make sure employees are taking all the time they need to recharge for a successful workday.

How do you track breaks?

The advancing restaurant technology industry focused on cultivating better employee management systems, so you can be sure that your team is working their hardest. Invest in devices with time tracking capabilities so as to monitor employees’ breaks and make sure they’re taking the time to recharge that everybody needs.

At eatOS, our advanced Point of Sale system makes it easy to track their times. Built-in employee management functions are designed to help you manage everything from schedules to breaks and more. Make better decisions about team management when you incorporate sales analytics, as well as integrated software and devices on the same network, into your decision-making process.

Employee management isn’t easy, but demonstrating that you prioritize their mental wellbeing by incorporating break times into the schedule is a great place to begin strengthening your relationship with the team and improving the overall efficiency of your operations. A happy team works harder, and everyone needs a rest now and again. Optimize your employees’ breaks with advanced Point of Sale technology and let eatOS track your employees’ times so they, and you, have a better workplace experience.

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